HVAC systems or Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning are responsible for supplying air that is clean and an ideal temperature of the occupants of a building. The system is mechanical as it removes humidity from the air and replaces it with clean air to make the environment comfortable. There are various components within the system consisting of moving parts that work together to ensure it creates the perfect conditions.
One of those components is the air duct network, which is literally the roads used by the system to remove and deliver air. As such, building managers and homeowners ask themselves the question, should you have your air ducts cleaned?
Should You Have Your Air Ducts Cleaned?
Any mechanical system requires frequent maintenance to ensure it’s operating at maximum capacity for a longer period. The same principle applies to an HVAC system, particularly air ducts. There’s little knowledge about duct cleaning, hence, there isn’t a blanket rule that you can apply to all scenarios. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), there are no studies that conclusively demonstrate that duct cleaning assists in preventing health issues.
Additionally, there’s no evidence that the number of particles resulting from dust is because of dirty air ducts. They go on to explain that much of the dust in the ducts attaches itself to the duct surfaces and doesn’t necessarily enter the space. Dirty air ducts aren’t the sole source of pollutants as they are created through cooking, cleaning, and smoking to mention a few.
What is Air Duct Cleaning?
Homeowners are becoming more aware of indoor air pollution and have been approached or seen as an advert regarding improving the home’s air quality through duct cleaning. The process of duct cleaning refers to inspecting and cleaning the various components associated with a heating or cooling system.
The components that are of major concern are the supply and return ducts; grilles and diffusers, heating and cooling coils condensate drip pans, fan motor and housing, and the air handling unit. There is a high risk of these components becoming contaminated with dust, pollen, and other dirt, while the presence of moisture increases the risk of mold spores being released into the living space. The contractor must clean all the components thoroughly as the failure to clean a single part may result in the re-contamination of the entire system.
Deciding Whether to Have Your Ducts Cleaned
The size of each home and HVAC system varies, which is why it isn’t easy to generalize about the benefits of duct cleaning. If the occupants of a home don’t suffer from allergies or unexplained illnesses, and you’ve inspected the ducts for dust or mold and find nothing, then there’s no pressing need for duct cleaning. It is normal for the return registers to accumulate dust as it sucks in dust-laden air and is not a sign that the ducts need cleaning. This dust can be removed easily with a vacuum cleaner.
While it is logical to clean your air ducts over time, there is no evidence to state that cleaning regularly has an adverse effect. Apart from regularly cleaning your ducts, which is recommended by most contractors as every year or two years, these are some of the other reasons that answer the question, should you have your air ducts cleaned?
- Upon inspection, there is visible evidence of mold growth on the surface of the ducts or other components of the system. Some areas are difficult to reach so you should request the contractor to show you evidence of mold from those sections. In the case of insulated air ducts where the insulation is exposed to moisture, it must be replaced and can’t be repaired.
- Ducts are infested with vermin. The presence of rats and mice are a hazard to your health and should be removed immediately.
- There is an excessive amount of dust and debris in the ducts, which is finding its way toward the supply registers and into your home.
To remove the mold, contractors may opt for using a chemical treatment. To ensure the presence of mold, you can get a sample tested at a lab. It’s usually $50 to determine if the debris contains mold. Should you decide to agree to the chemical treatment, you may have to leave the premises for a while.
Other Factors to Consider
The National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) says that you should consider these factors when deciding to have your ducts cleaned.
- Homes, where there are pets shedding fur continuously or an in-house smoker, should consider frequent cleaning.
- Occupants that suffer from allergies or chronic respiratory conditions should consider more regular duct cleaning.
- Any water damage or home renovations that were undertaken will lead to excessive dust in the ducts, which could require cleaning.
Now that you have an answer to the question, “should you have your air ducts cleaned?”, you must carefully consider the contractor to assist you. At Valley Comfort, we recommend duct cleaning on an annual basis and have the experience and training to assist you.