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Cleaning is a critical task for every business, whether it’s a restaurant looking to pass a health inspection or a large office building that needs to maintain a clean and orderly work environment. These needs are why so many companies rely on professional cleaning crews for public spaces and private offices. What about the areas you cannot see, though? Coming in to the office to clean floors and windows is good for morale, but if staff continually complains of headaches, allergies, dust, or musty odors, the net effect won’t be a positive one. Health is just one of the reasons why you should regularly clean the air ducts in your building. How can you do that, though? There are a few steps to consider. 

Figure Out if Your Ducts Need Cleaning in the First Place

Air Ducts Duct cleaning is an involved process that often requires a professional to complete to a high standard. Understanding when to explore your options for this service is the first step. There is some disagreement among established authorities, such as the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the NADCA, or the National Air Duct Cleaners Association. The EPA suggests “cleaning as needed” or when extensive mold growth appears. NADCA, on the other hand, recommends routine cleaning at least once every three to five years. If you can’t remember the last time you ever had such a service performed, that’s usually a good indicator you should move ahead immediately. Otherwise, the right time to clean air ducts for most businesses can be subjective. Looking for the signs that say “start cleaning” can help. 

These signs often include:

  • Visible accumulation of dust on or near duct vents and return air supplies, or in some cases actual wisps of dust exiting from the vents during daily HVAC operations. 
  • Musty, stale odors that fill the workspace every time the HVAC activates. Bad odors usually indicate that ducts are very dusty, may have mold, and may have moisture concerns. Other unusual smells may indicate that a small animal has spent time — or expired — within your ductwork. 

Whether or not you can tell if your ducts need help, the pros can take a closer look with special equipment to check their condition. 

Basic DIY Options for Short-Term Maintenance

Can you avoid calling out for this service? In a word, no — however, that does not mean there is nothing you can do on a “do it yourself” basis. Keep in mind, though, that there are many parts of your ductwork system that you cannot see. Likewise, you do not have access to the unique tools that professionals use, such as rotary brushes that can clean the entire duct from the inside. However, there are some steps you can take that will help to keep your ducts cleaner between professional visits. 

Watch for dust accumulations on vents or near grates. Using mild soap and water, clean these spaces to help prevent excessive dust infiltration. While you could unscrew the grates on returns and similarly clean the visible ductwork, you are unlikely to make a significant impact on the overall system. Instead, you need someone with the right tools. 

Dust Mites in your HVAC Ducts

Why Should You Get a Professional to Clean Your Air Ducts?

Ultimately, professional cleaning is the way to go to achieve maximum cleanliness within your ducts. From access to the proper tools to the experience necessary to clean even complex systems, the pros can provide your business with a more convenient service. It goes beyond the convenience, though; there are other reasons to consider professional help. These include:

  • Experience in understanding what to look for how and to approach different ducting systems. Not all ductwork follows the same layout, and some are more complex than others. Choosing the right duct cleaners ensures that all parts of your system receive the appropriate care they require. 
  • The right technology and tools for tackling even tough cleaning jobs. HVAC contractors can deploy the right equipment to ensure your ducts are cleaned from start to finish.
  • Service guarantees. Most professional providers will provide peace of mind to clients by ensuring that the work they performed met high standards, with return service available if problems redevelop rapidly. 

The Benefits You’ll Enjoy at the End of the Process

With clean ducts, your staff can enjoy better air quality throughout the building, while your HVAC system runs closer to its optimal state. With the certainty that comes from knowing your ducts are mold-free as well, everyone can breathe a little easier when they come in to work in the morning. If you aren’t sure whether you should clean the air ducts in your building, start with a visual inspection — then contact the professional team you trust the most to come and inspect your ductwork. With short-term and long-term maintenance efforts combined, your building’s entire HVAC system can remain in good health for years to come.