Winter is only getting started, so odds are your family will be spending more time in-doors. Probably more than any other time of the year, conscientious homeowners think about the quality of their indoor air and want to do everything necessary to make sure it is clean and healthy.
So what’s the buzz about ductwork cleaning? Is it necessary? If so, when? How can you make sure you hire a reputable service company?
While presently there is no research about whether occasional air duct cleaning improves the quality of air in your home, there is evidence that cleaning may be in order if there is any reason to believe contaminants such as dust, debris or animal hair may have been introduced into the HVAC system. Even the EPA takes a conservative stance on the issue, recommending the ducts be cleaned only if they are really dirty.
To clean or not to clean Air duct cleaning certainly doesn’t hurt; but unlike routine cleaning and maintenance that is required for your HVAC unit, your ducts don’t need to be on your annual home maintenance list. Consider having your ductwork cleaned in the following cases:
• Renovation: If your home has been remodeled – especially if there was asbestos abatement, lead paint removal, or significant dust.
• Animals: If there’s evidence of animal infestation or nesting in your ducts or HVAC system.
• Mold: If there is visible mold growth inside the ductwork.
• Contaminants: If noticeable debris, pet hair, odors, or other contaminants are being released into the room through the ducts.
• Illness: If someone in your family is suffering from an unexplained allergy-related illness, and you’ve taken every other possible step to decontaminate your home.
• You are new to the home: If you just moved in and you don’t know when or if the previous homeowner serviced the air ducts.
Avoid duct-cleaning scams The cleaning company should be certified by the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA), which sets standards for HVAC system cleaning. Get and check references in your area to find out what was provided for the money, and whether customers were satisfied.