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When Proper Air Duct Cleaning is Important For Your Home

Duct cleaning is one of those chores that is easy to forget about. Since vents and ducts are so often overlooked, many homeowners might not even recall the last time they had their house’s ducts cleaned. Despite how easy it is to forget about, maintenance of vents and ducts is an important part of proper house maintenance. Duct cleaning can give many health benefits, and may even extend the life of your forced air system and reduce your electric bills.

Vent and duct cleaning for indoor air quality

Indoor air quality has suffered greatly in recent years, partially due to a number of technological advantages that provide other benefits. High-efficiency doors and windows and improved insulation lower energy bills, but also reduce the amount of air transfer between the indoors and out. These feature are great when it comes to energy efficiency, but often they are not supplemented with additional ventilation. This means that when pollutants enter a home, they tend to remain within it instead of leaking out through gaps around windows and doors.

Several governmental agencies have carried out studies to determine if air duct cleaning is effective in improving indoor air quality. Based on these studies, we know that air duct cleaning will not always improve air quality in every situation, but in many cases, can provide a number of benefits. Proper duct cleaning is likely to find and remove harmful fungi, molds, microbes, and toxins from infected systems. Harmful molds are responsible for many negative health effects, so removing them should be of great concern. In addition, removing common dust from the air system may improve overall indoor air quality.

How often to schedule duct cleaning

Most experts and cleaners agree on some general guidelines for when duct cleaning is needed. Here is when you should clean your house’s ducts:

• Every three to five years. Don’t trust cleaners who assert that more frequent cleaning is needed.

• After building a new home.

• When you move into a new home, unless the previous homeowner recently had the ducts cleaned.

• After competing a major home project. Sawdust and other airborne debris can easily be spread throughout the house and extend into the ducts.

• If home occupants suffer from allergies, duct cleaning may help to remove irritants.

• If you have many house pets, hair and dander can accumulate in the ducts and should be removed to improve air quality.

How duct cleaning works

There are two main ways duct cleaning is carried out. One method uses compressed air to blow the particles out from inside the ducts. The other method uses a very large, high-output vacuum with specialized attachments to suck the dust out of the ducts. Both systems work well when operated by properly trained personnel.

A complete cleaning should include all of the following steps: cleaning of the inside of the ducts, the interior of the ventilating and heating system, all registers, and the furnace fan. In addition, if you have a heat pump or air conditioning system, the coils inside the system need to be cleaned of any dust. As a last step, a disinfectant can be fogged throughout the cleaned ducts to kill any dust mites, bacteria, or mold that might remain lodged in the system.

Cleaning of a home’s duct systems should take a minimum of three hours, but can take more depending on the size of the house. If the system is located on the roof, it can be a slightly longer and more complicated process. Most cleaning companies base their prices on square footage of the house, or the number of registers, levels, and systems to be cleaned.