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Do Your Air Ducts Need Cleaning?

Do your air ducts need cleaning? That depends on the last time you cleaned them, as experts tend to recommend they be cleansed roughly once every five to eight years. That said, there is no conclusive proof that cleaning air ducts has health benefits and dirty air ducts have not been proven to cause dirty air. However, there are many reasons why duct cleaning is a good idea, so it definitely makes sense to have them cleaned every few years.

Ducts can get dirty when mold or other filthy materials build up, which can lead to coughing, sneezing, and various allergy-based negative reactions. With the advent of high-efficiency windows, doors, and greater insulation, the degree to which air is transferred between inside and outside has decreased. This may lead to lower energy costs, but it also hurts ventilation, which increases the possibility of contaminants getting inside and staying inside. With this in mind, it is easy to see why duct cleaning is important since it can remove potentially damaging fungus and mold from a system that is not getting a large degree of ventilation.

Do Your Air Ducts Need Cleaning
So now that we have established why duct cleaning is important, what is the best way to get the process done? One of the most common ways to clean ducts is to pass a high-pressure air hose through them so that particles can be cleared away from the inside. Another is to attach a vacuum to a hose and run it through the ducts. Regardless of which procedure is used, in order for it to be completed properly, it must clean out the inside ducts, registers, and inside parts of the ventilation system. In addition, mold and fungus must be wiped out with disinfectant and the coils of any heating or air conditioning component need to be cleansed.

The amount of time dedicated to the process is not extraordinary, though it can vary depending on the size of the home, but on average, you are looking at roughly two to four hours for a single family home. If your home is larger and has multiple heating and cooling systems, it is possible for the procedure to take longer.

Picking the right company for the job is essential, since now that we know why duct cleaning is important, getting the job done right is crucial. The first recommended step to finding the right company is to search for someone who is certified in HVAC maintenance. One option is to visit the Performance Tested Comfort Systems (PTCS) website. They have a comprehensive list of qualified air duct cleaners and can be a very useful resource in your selection process.

It is wise to be wary of false claims, such as if the company you contact claims to be certified by the EPA. Much like the IRS will never contact you by telephone so you know that anybody who does that is scamming you, the same can be said of any air duct cleaning company that claims to be certified by the EPA since the EPA does not certify duct cleaning companies.

It is also advisable to check references and research the extent of the company’s experience. Anybody can say virtually anything about their credentials, so it is vital that their claims be thoroughly checked.

In certain states – Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, and Texas – air duct cleaners are required to have special licensing, so using a fully licensed company may help put your mind at ease.

Of course, one major issue that will always need to be addressed thoroughly is price. Like any job of this magnitude, there is no set price for duct cleaning and prices will vary based on the size and scope of the job and the prices set by each individual company.

As a consumer, it is your duty, knowing full well why duct cleaning is important, to thoroughly interview each company and decide which one best suits your needs. You can go with the least expensive option, but you should do so knowing that you may be sacrificing quality. Determining who to use based on a combination of company reputation and price is generally a good idea as it allows you to find the best mix of affordability and quality.

Once you choose your air duct cleaning company, the next step is to make sure that once they start the job, they do it correctly. One thing you should make absolutely sure of is that they have checked your system thoroughly to ensure no asbestos is in your system.

If asbestos is present, it will require specific equipment and you will need to call in a specialist. Speaking of equipment, you should ensure that the proper vacuum equipment is being used and see to it that your carpeting and furniture are properly protected.

So, being that you know why duct cleaning is important but are not an expert on the practice of duct cleaning yourself, how do you determine if the company did a good job? The EPA suggests you ask the following questions:

1. Was the entire heating/cooling/duct system thoroughly cleaned?
2. Are the surfaces of the heating and cooling devices, as well as the ducts and vents, visibly clean?
3. Can a flashlight shine through to the other side of a cooling coil (the answer should be “yes”)?
4. Are all metal ducts and fiberglass materials in good condition?
5. Have all the access doors and air vents been reattached to where they are supposed to be?
6. Do the heating and cooling systems, as well as ducts and vents, function correctly?

Ultimately, while there is no concrete evidence to show that clean air ducts create cleaner air, going through the process of duct cleaning is still a procedure that should be done every few years in a home as a precautionary measure. However, it must be done properly and by the right company so carefully weigh all of your options, be smart, and choose wisely!