Your carpets need cleaning after a while. So why not your air ducts, too? It makes sense to most homeowners.
However, for air duct cleaning don’t ask, “How often?”, but, “Should it be done at all?”
The consensus among professionals and the EPA is that air duct cleaning isn’t necessary. So there is no rule that says, “Clean your air ducts every X number of years.”
So does that mean duct cleaning should never ever be done?
Not quite. Air duct cleaning should be done on an as-needed basis.
According to the EPA, these are at least 3 cases where air duct cleaning is called for:
1) Substantial mold growth in your ducts or other parts of your heating/cooling system.
According to the EPA, even though a substance looks like mold, you need a laboratory analysis to confirm it. Also, you can’t visually inspect all of your ducts since they run throughout your entire home.
Contact a professional to check out your ducts and get a thorough inspection.
2) Vermin (rodents, insects) are living your ducts.
An occasional dead bug isn’t anything to worry about. But if you ducts are filled with pests and mice, then it’s time for a duct cleaning.
3) Ducts are clogged with excessive amounts of dust and debris.
Whenever you turn on your air conditioner or furnace, does your furniture seem to be covered in dust shortly after? Do you see dust blowing out of the supply registers? These are signs your ducts may need cleaning. It could also be a sign that your air filter needs changing.
Imagine for a moment you have a cold and a runny nose. If you plugged up your nose with tissues, would that make the cold go away? No, there’s a deeper problem that needs to be fixed. The tissues are just fixing a symptom of a bigger problem.
So, that’s what it’s like getting your ducts cleaned, but not finding out why they got so dirty in the first place. If there’s mold, vermin or excessive dust in your ducts, you must also figure out how it got in.
Time alone isn’t the culprit. There’s something causing it.
For example, excessive dust can be caused by a dirty air filter or air duct leaks.
Have a contractor come out and find the source of these problems, or they’ll just come back.
Page 11 of this EPA report shows you how to prevent duct contamination. We suggest you read it over if your ducts need cleaning.
Not sure if your ducts need cleaning or sealing?
Air Professionals is a whole-home comfort company serving New Jersey homeowners. Contact us for more information on how we can help improve your home’s comfort.