Before delving into whether air duct cleaning service is worth the effort and cost, let’s first discuss what exactly is this service all about.

Duct cleaning, in general, refers to the cleaning of the numerous heating and cooling subunits of an air system including air ducts, grills, registers, diffusers, coils, drip pans, heat exchangers, fan motors, etc.

If not appropriately installed and operated, these subunits or components may get contaminated with dust particles, debris, and pollens. If somehow moisture gets trapped, microbiological growths particularly that of molds will be promoted. These molds then tend to release spores in the air, thereby reducing the indoor air quality. These prolonged mold exposures can become a cause of several health conditions such as allergic reactions.

If you ever decide to get your heating and cooling system cleaned, make sure that the professional team cleans every component of the system independently. Only this way, duct cleaning will be beneficial. If you do not give due attention to any of the contaminated components of the system, this duct cleaning will be of no use to you as it may lead to the re-contamination of the whole system.

Methods do vary, usually, a service provider uses special tools and equipment to dislodge dirt and debris which are later vacuumed out using a high-potency vacuum cleaner.

Not only the tools but a professional in this domain will apply certain biocides to kill microorganisms such as molds that contaminate the ducts largely to lower the system’s efficiency. Chemical treatment may also be given to the interior of the air ducts in severe cases as it will keep mold growth in check.

Knowledge about air duct cleaning is still in its infancy, so hefty information cannot be given as to whether such a cleaning service is worth it or is a scam.

Is Cleaning Air Ducts Worth It?

Cleaning the air ducts linked to your home’s HVAC system may not be as fruitful as it sounds to be. To date, it has not been evidenced that regular duct cleaning improves indoor air quality.

Though it seems intuitive, it has neither shown to prevent health problems nor abundant studies have conclusively demonstrated that particle levels, probably dust, rise in the air we breathe due to filthy air ducts. Much of the dirt/dust settles on the surfaces of the ducts and it is not mandatory that this adhered dirt enters the living space.

One needs to keep in mind that these are the particles present in the homes that make your air ducts dirty. Indoor and outdoor activities such as cooking, smoking, washing, cleaning, etc. are more likely to cause escalated exposure to contaminants rather than dirty air ducts.

If you are suffering from asthma or allergy, it will make sense to you to get the home’s heating and cooling ducts cleaned immediately. You may expect clean air flowing out of your vents if your ducts are clean. Right? Not necessarily this happens.

Companies that offer duct cleaning will try to persuade you that your ducts are in a miserable condition requiring an ultimate cleaning service to set things right around you and your environment. Some agencies will try to take you in by highlighting the health and electrical/power benefits. Some will advertise the service with bigger claims.

It is said that dirty ducts sometimes or oftentimes fail to provide measurable benefits. The little research conducted on duct cleaning indicated that doing so creates a lot of dust that it becomes more of a problem than a solution.

Should We Get Ducts Cleaned?

Considering the ever-increasing concerns related to indoor air quality, it has become easy to convince home and business owners that their HVAC needs cleaning. Duct cleaning is more of an emotional sell. Ducts, upon serious contamination, require proper cleaning treatment where the entire HVAC system is taken into account. Hiring a wrong person can do more harm than good.

Have in mind the ducts demand cleaning only in some special cases as in case of HVAC contamination. For instance, if the dirt layer chokes the duct altogether, you can go for a cleaning procedure.

Duct cleaning doesn’t bother if the service is taken properly but it’s not something to be a part of your routine schedule. The cost of any professional duct cleaning service depends on:

  1. The size or capacity of the system to be cleaned
  2. Access to the system
  3. Degree of contamination

When Do You Require Duct Cleaning?

The following are a couple of points where you may require duct cleaning to some extent depending upon contamination level, otherwise not.

  1. Animals

If you suspect an infestation in the air ducts or entire HVAC system, remove the animals from that place and opt for cleaning the ductwork.

  1. Molds

If you find visible mold growth in the interior, this suggests the duct requires to be cleaned of all the traces of molds.

  1. Renovation

Renovated/remodeled homes require thorough cleaning of the ducts as in remodeling the lead paint may get removed, dust and debris may accumulate which after lodging into the ducts can potentially clog them.

  1. Illness

If you acquire any unexplained allergic reaction and you have taken every possible measure for decontamination, you may try cleaning the HVAC system to get to the real culprit.

The Takeaway:

Duct cleaning operations may emphasize cleaning the ducts for your well-being but no evidence so far backs their claims up. Duct cleaning shouldn’t be considered promptly and is not necessarily required as it is not a do-it-yourself job. It is costly as you need to hire a professional for it. It has limited applications and is only worth trying if you find visible mold growth towards the inside of the duct or if your duct gets clogged with dust, debris, or animal fur. Only then should you go for duct cleaning upon recommendation. Remember, cleaning only dusty duct offers no real value but only heavy cost.

About Lisa McIntyre

Lisa McIntyre has always resided in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. She graduated from University of Cincinnati with a degree in Applied Science. Ultimately, her passion for science and teaching came to fruition after her husband requested her assistance in developing Dry Effect Restoration Services. She was able to develop her knowledge, degrees and certifications further in many indoor air quality associations and organizations. Thus allowing her to educate Realtors and Insurance Agents on the damages that many common indoor air quality irritants and water bacterial growths can lead to in ones home or business. Over 10 years later she’s glad to have taken the leap of faith to assist her husband what seemed to be a fun project into a lifetime achievement and to see the individuals she teaches prosper from their newly found knowledge.

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