Air duct cleaning is something you may have seen advertised in your local newspaper, through the mail, or even on a door-to-door salesman’s flyers. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “Knowledge about air duct cleaning is in its early stages, so a blanket recommendation cannot be offered as to whether you should have your air ducts in your home cleaned.” However it is known to give people some peace of mind when it comes to efficiency, their health, and especially when it comes to treating or preventing mold. If you are in the market to get an air duct cleaning, these are some things you should know.
When should I get it done?
The EPA suggests getting your air duct cleaned if:
- You see mold growth inside the ducts.
- There are excessive amounts of dust and debris.
- You notice that you may have a pest infestation in your ducts (i.e. insects and rodents).
According to our resident expert, Keith Hill, technical support manager for Minnesota Air, a dirty furnace blower wheel and blower motor is also a good indicator that you’ll need a duct cleaning.
“If you’re not afraid of taking off your furnace access panels (with the power off, of course), look inside the blower section with a flashlight. If the blower motor and wheel looks dirty, then most likely your cooling coil and your ducts need cleaning,” he says.
Since there is no evidence that a routine cleaning (done yearly) is necessary to improving air quality or reducing dust, the EPA suggests only doing it when they are contaminated. In other words, Keith says, ductwork cleaning should be done ‘as needed’ in residential homes.
“A system where the filter has been neglected or with a loose fitting filter may need to be cleaned very 5 to 10 years,” he says. “A system with a good filter that fits well and is changed regularly should need duct cleaning every 15 or 20 years.”
Who should I hire for the job?
You don’t want to hire a company that isn’t trained properly on duct cleanings – that can do more harm than good. So, in order to find the right company that won’t damage your ductwork, the EPA recommends all duct cleaners follow National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) standards. To find a professional certified by the NADCA, click here. The NADCA also has a helpful checklist for consumers before hiring an HVAC cleaning company.