Should you have the HVAC ductwork in your home cleaned?
Commercial Duct Cleaning services are popping up everywhere recently, and it’s become quite popular. The big “but” – is the service worth it, especially from one of the specialty discount duct cleaning vendors? This article should help you determine whether your family might benefit from hiring a contractor to clean the HVAC ductwork in your home.
Duct Cleaning Services
Dedicated duct cleaning contractors use specialized equipment designed specifically to clean HVAC ductwork. That equipment might include brushes, vacuums, and blowers, all intended to remove dust and particulates from the supply ducts, intake ducts, and return ducts in your home. A thorough duct cleaning job involves removing dust and dirt from registers and grilles, as well as the major parts of the HVAC system (like the air handler, fans, blower motors, housing and coils).
Unfortunately, there is no conclusive scientific research that proves routine duct cleaning improves the air quality or reduces dust in the average household. As an HVAC contractor, we do know that dirty heating and cooling coils, blower motors, and air handling units can make your HVAC equipment run less efficiently.
On the surface, duct cleaning as a standalone service just doesn’t seem that necessary, but there are cases where ridding the ductwork and HVAC system from dust and dirt could be extremely useful.
At certain times, like after performing any remodeling or construction work in your home, that your house could benefit from a thorough duct cleaning.
When Should I Have Ducts Cleaned?
In our modern world, we spend so much time indoors we should strive to have the cleanest air possible. “Indoor Air Quality” is the new buzzword in the HVAC industry. It speaks to our concerns for dealing with indoor pollutants and particulates that can affect our health. The HVAC ductwork in your home can be a source of a great deal of dust, dirt, pet dander, and other particulates, as they accumulate over time. That makes health a primary factor in getting your home’s ducts cleaned.
The US Environmental Protection Agency recommends getting your ducts cleaned only if the ducts and HVAC unit are contaminated. Dor-Mar recommends routine maintenance on your heating and cooling equipment, which involves cleaning the HVAC system itself, and duct cleaning for any excessive buildup in the ductwork.
Following are our recommendations to determine if you should have your home’s ductwork cleaned.
- Animals or Insects If there is any evidence your heating system’s ductwork has been infested by animals, of course have the animals removed then have the ductwork professionally cleaned.
- Illness If someone in your family is suffering from an unexplained allergy-related illness, you should definitely consider getting the ductwork cleaned. Especially if you’ve eliminated other possibilities. Dusty and dirty ductwork can cause a flare up of allergy and asthma symptoms.
- Mold If you’ve discovered visible mold growing in your ductworks, that indicates the existence of a leak or excess moisture. Solve the source of the moisture, then get the ducts and HVAC system cleaned.
- Renovation If you’ve had some recent remodeling or construction work done in your home, your ductwork should get cleaned. In an older home, you may have had asbestos abatement, lead paint removed, or simply an excess of dust, so all the more reason to get the ducts cleaned.
- Contaminants If you can see pet hair, noticeable debris and dust, or you can smell an unusual odor coming from your ductwork, cleaning the HVAC and ducts is definitely in order.
How to Avoid Being the Target of Duct Cleaning Scams
While companies like Dor-Mar offer reputable, professional HVAC cleaning and ductwork cleaning services, there are scams around as well. If the salesperson or technician uses scare tactics, trying to convince you your home might be “unhealthy,” you should run in the other direction. Unless you want to willingly empty your checkbooks.
Here are our recommendations for avoiding ductwork cleaning scams and being “taken to the cleaners.”
- Full HVAC Cleaning If possible, don’t just have a duct cleaning done, be sure to have the entire HVAC system thoroughly cleaned. This will add life to your heating and cooling equipment by letting the system breathe easier.
- Estimates As with any work being performed on your home, get a written estimate from the contractor before work is to be done. Most companies, including Dor-Mar, can provide a free inspection and estimate before beginning work.
- Reviews/References Check references if possible, prior to work being completed. If nothing else, check out the company’s reviews on public review sites like Google or Angie’s List.
- Avoid Super-Cheap Specials “Whole-House Duct Cleaning for $99” are most definitely a scam. You’ll get a minor vacuum job to visible duct areas for that price… more importantly, they’ll try to upsell you into a more expensive package. Professional duct and HVAC cleaning typically costs $500 or more (depending on your home’s size, the amount of ductwork, age of home, etc). It takes the better part of a day (at best ½ day), with expensive, sophisticated equipment, and usually involves multiple technicians.
- Certifications Standalone duct cleaning companies sometimes advertise their service as “EPA certified” but the EPA does not certify duct cleaners, so avoid anyone making that claim.
- License & Insurance Ohio doesn’t require a license to perform duct-only cleaning, but one is required to work on consumers’ HVAC equipment. We carry full liability insurance coverage, Worker’s Comp, and hold an Ohio HVAC license.
- Verify Results Watch for a complete visual inspection of the HVAC system and ductwork, either in person or by remote camera. Be sure they clean every single duct. Also take a look at the inside of the blower chamber and the combustion area (heart of the HVAC system) to ensure that section was cleaned.
- Return Air Ducts Since the ductwork that funnels air back into the furnace to intake as part of the combustion process is not filtered, this should be the primary concern with cleaning. This section of ductwork has a filter between the fresh air return and the blower chamber, so it’s likely dirtier than the ductwork that blows hot or cold air out into the house. Ideally you should see before and after photos or inspect to ensure the system is relatively dust free after the job is completed.
- No Sealants or Sprays Both the EPA and the National Air Duct Cleaners Association(NADCA) recommend that no sealants or other potentially harmful chemicals be sprayed inside your home’s air ducts. Many of those chemicals, called biocides and anti-microbial treatments, may cause more harm to your health than good. There are currently no chemicals registered for use inside ductwork with the EPA.
- No Steam Cleaning No duct cleaning service should ever involve moisture or steam. That could eventually turn into mold in your ducts.
How We Can Help
Our team offers a wide array of routine maintenance and emergency services for your heating and cooling system, allowing your family to breathe fresh, safe, clean air and be comfortable year-round. We also offer a number of add-ons to your HVAC equipment that can improve your home’s IAQ, such as electrostatic air filters, whole-house humidifiers, duct cleaning, and more.
Schedule an appointment for HVAC system troubleshooting or maintenance with us today by using our online contact form, or call one of our seven neighborhood offices listed below. We pride ourselves on our customer-focused service, and our reviews show it.
Dor-Mar…Your Climate Hero!