Consider Cleaning Your Ducts
Plenty of contaminants and air pollutants, such as dander, dust, and chemicals are produced in your home every day. These contaminants are pulled into the HVAC system recirculated five to seven times per day, on average. Over time, this recirculation causes a build-up of contaminants in the ductwork.
Although the EPA does not have a blanket recommendation that all households need to routinely clean the air ducts, they do say that you may consider having your air ducts cleaned simply because it seems logical that air ducts will get dirty over time and should occasionally be cleaned. They also suggest that it be done when there are specific reasons for doing so that includes:
- You see substantial quantities of visible mold growth within the heating ducts or present on other parts of your home’s HVAC system.
- Pests such as mice, rats or insects have infested portions of the duct system.
- Excessive amounts of dust or debris clog the duct system and release dust or debris into the home through the vent registers when the system operates.
While dirty ducts don’t necessarily mean unhealthy air in your home, school or workplace, they may be contributing to larger health issues or harboring contaminants that could cause serious problems for people with respiratory health conditions, autoimmune disorders or some environmental allergies. When determining who you should hire to clean your ductwork:
- Make sure the company is a member in good standing of the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) and they are certified to perform HVAC system cleaning.
- See if the company has been in business long enough to have adequate experience.
- Get proof that the company is properly licensed and adequately insured.
- Make sure that the company is going to clean and visually inspect all of the air ducts and related system components.
- Avoid advertisements for “$99 whole house specials” and other sales gimmicks.
- Ask if the company has the right equipment to effectively perform cleaning and if the company has done work in homes similar to yours. Get references from neighbors if possible.
If you decide that you need to clean your ducts, you may also determine that they have to be cleaned on a regular basis. The frequency of cleaning depends on several factors, not the least of which is the preference of the homeowner. Some of the things that may lead you to consider more frequent cleaning include:
- Smokers in the household.
- Pets that shed high amounts of hair and dander.
- Water contamination or damage to the home or HVAC system.
- Residents with allergies or asthma who might benefit from a reduction in the number of indoor air pollutants in the home’s HVAC system.
- After home renovations or remodeling.
- Prior to occupancy of a new home.
In addition to improving indoor air quality which tends to improve overall comfort and health, duct cleaning can enhance the efficiency of your HVAC system. Research has demonstrated that HVAC system cleaning may allow systems to run more efficiently by removing debris from sensitive mechanical components. Clean, efficient systems are less likely to break down, have a longer life span, and generally operate more effectively than dirty systems.