It’s probably the last part of your HVAC system that you think about, but that doesn't mean it isn’t important. Duct work allows for the circulation of warm and cool air throughout your house, and most of the time it doesn’t need any sort of upkeep. However, once in awhile your duct work may need a good cleaning.
Air duct cleaning isn’t a seasonal or annual event, no matter how much some people want you to think it is. We’ll guide you through the ins and outs of duct cleaning, including when you need it and what to avoid.
How Air Duct Cleaning Works
Your home’s duct work is most likely extensive and hard to reach just like everyone else’s. It is spread throughout your entire house, and is only accessible through air vents which are quite small, or through the main port often located in your basement
This makes duct cleaning a hard job that takes a long time and requires specialized vacuums and other tools to get every nook and cranny. We use a vacuum truck to completely clean air duct systems efficiently and effectively.
The process not only takes a long time; it takes a lot of people. The entire process is involved, and while occasionally necessary, it is not a service that we recommend having done regularly. Therefore, it is important to know when your air ducts actually need to be cleaned.
When Should You Clean Your Air Ducts?
There are some situations where a good air duct cleaning is needed.
- Post Renovation - Renovations in your home kick up a lot of dust and debris that is filtered through your air ducts. This can create massive amounts of buildup that will cause your HVAC system to work harder. The harder it has to work to spread warm or cool air through your home, the more energy it’ll use. If gone unchecked, it could even strain your system to the point where it breaks down well before it was supposed to.
- Suspected Vermin Infestation - Just because you can’t fit in there doesn’t mean other things can’t. As much as we don’t like to think about creepy crawlers and critters living in our homes, it happens. If you suspect that you may have some unwanted visitors living in your air ducts, investing in professional duct cleaning is a must.
Mold - If air ducts are exposed to wet conditions, there is the potential for mold growth, which is unhealthy for you and your home. Take a peek inside your air vents and give a sniff. If you see any sign of mold growth, or catch a whiff of that distinctive mold smell, we recommend a cleaning right away.
- Allergies and Illness - If you or someone living in your home is having an allergy-related illness or severe reaction, your air ducts may be a contributor. First thing’s first - visit your doctor to establish what the problem is. If your doctor agrees that something in the home could be aggravating your symptoms, do your best to clean the rest of your home first. There could be another solution to your allergy problems. If you’ve done this and the illness or allergic reaction still has not gone away, consider an air duct cleaning.
- Expelling Debris - If your HVAC system is expelling visible particles and contaminants like dust or pet hair, that is a sign that you need some air duct cleaning. While a little dust in the ductwork is perfectly normal, debris re-entering the room is a sign of significant buildup.
If any of these situations sound familiar, consider professionals to clean your air duct system. We have the tools and the skills to provide this service.
Avoid Duct Cleaning Scams
As a homeowner, you may get calls or messages advising you to clean your ducts. There are a few things to watch out for when you get these messages.
Don’t Buy Into Too-Good-to-Be-True Deals
If the price seems too good to be true, it is. Duct cleaning takes a good amount of time, professional equipment, and multiple people to do a thorough job. A low price tag could be a sign that the person is not going to take the proper time and care air duct cleaning requires.
Look For Professional Touches
Duct cleaning doesn’t happen often, but when you do have it done, you want it done correctly the first time. If the person you hired shows up alone with little to no equipment, this is a red flag.
Many duct cleaning scams involve improper equipment that can actually release more dirt and debris than if you hadn’t gotten your ducts cleaned at all.
Don’t Fall for These Tall Tales
There are a lot of misconceptions about air ducts and duct cleaning that are circulated by those looking to scam homeowners. We want to set the record straight and debunk these myths.
“Dirty Ducts Cause Poor Air Quality and Health Problems”: The truth is, there is no proof that this is the case. Certainly you don’t want unhealthy bacteria growing in your ducts, and if you have pre-existing respiratory issues there may be some benefit in getting them cleaned. However, it will not drastically impact the air quality in your home. In most cases, all you’ll have is a little dust, which is expected in a busy, active household. There are other ways to improve air quality in your home.
“Duct Cleaning is Part of Yearly HVAC Maintenance”: It is important to regularly tune up your heating and cooling systems to ensure they are running properly and have no big problems. But your duct work is not part of that yearly maintenance.
“Chemical Sprays and Sealants Are Your Best Options”: Most professionals who offer air duct cleaning services will tell you to avoid chemical biocides and sealants. If you are not aware of the pros and cons, these products could be detrimental to your ductwork. We recommend a botanical spray called Benefect, which is a non-chemical alternative and kills 99.99% of bacteria, mold and fungal spores.
Getting Your Ducts Cleaned
Once you’ve avoided the pitfalls of duct cleaning scams, and confirmed that you are in need of duct cleaning, you’re free to think about the benefits.
- Efficiency - If your air ducts have blockages or even just a large amount of buildup, getting them professionally cleaned will increase the efficiency of your HVAC system. It is no secret that a clean, well tended apparatus is a happy one. Bonus: a clean, more efficient system could save you a few dollars on your electricity bill.
Remember: A little dust in your air ducts won’t impact the efficiency of your HVAC equipment. After all, that is what your furnace filter is there to catch. Your ducts don’t have to be sparkling clean all the time. Duct cleaning is an occasional service that should only be done when you actually need it.
- Easing Those Allergies - If there were irritants inside you air ducts causing some allergic reactions or allergy related illness, having professional air duct cleaning done is going to make you feel a whole lot better.
Keep In Mind
Just because you have a real need for air duct cleaning services doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still keep an eye out for scams or shoddy workmanship. We recommend talking to your air duct cleaning professional to understand the process.
- Check if they have multiple people and professional equipment.
- If they say you have mold or other buildup that you yourself can’t see farther down the ducts, ask them to show it to you to avoid being swindled.
- You may want to take a chance, but improper cleaning could create more problems and cost you more down the road. A professional that offers an air duct cleaning service will get it right the first time.
When you need duct cleaning, we can get it done, and done well. Talk to our team of professionals at 416-665-3666 to learn more about our air duct cleaning services.