If you’re concerned about air quality in your home, particularly if any of your family suffers from airborne allergies or respiratory issues, you may wonder if your HVAC system’s ducts need to be cleaned. A lot of heating and cooling businesses offer routine duct-cleaning services, though some unscrupulous companies will overstate the necessity of cleaning ducts.
While a home’s ducts occasionally may need cleaning, it’s usually related to specific problems. A well-operating HVAC system, with proper air filtration, shouldn’t require regular duct cleaning. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends cleaning ductwork in certain cases, including:
- Visible mold on the hard surface of the ducts, or anywhere else in the heating and cooling system
- Signs of infestation by rodents or insects
- Ducts are clogged with debris that’s being released into the home through the supply registers
- If your ducts are insulated and get wet, the insulation may become moldy and may need to be replaced.
On the other hand, the National Air Duct Cleaners Association recommends cleaning ducts every three to five years. The frequency is based on whether you have pets, if there are smokers in the house, if the house has had recent renovations, and the house’s general cleanliness.
A reputable contractor will inspect your system first to see if your ducts need to be cleaned or repaired before taking the assignment. Often, simple repairs will address the problem.
Finding a contractor with a good reputation is important. Make sure they are licensed and NATE certified because if done incorrectly, duct cleaning can actually make things worse.
The EPA recommends that all duct cleaners adhere to the National Air Duct Cleaners Association guidelines.
Duct cleaning isn’t a quick procedure and should take several hours and may employ two workers. Every component of your heating and cooling system through which air passes should be examined and cleaned.
If you think your ducts need to be cleaned, before hiring a service contractor first check their references. Don’t hire them if they make unsubstantiated sweeping claims of health benefits, and do contact the Better Business Bureau to determine if any complaints have been filed against them.
For more information on ductwork issues, or any topic related to heating and cooling your Metro-East home, please contact us at Ernst Heating & Cooling.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Hamel, Illinois and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about ducts and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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