Dirty Ductwork: You Should Have It Cleaned…Right?
Facts, myths, and lies about cleaning your ductwork.
Intuitively it makes sense that when we clean our house we should include our air ducts. We have seen the pictures of how dusty and dirty our ductwork gets. The idea of it can make one wheezy so why would you not get your ductwork cleaned? We took deep dive into researching the pros and cons of having ducts cleaned versus not having ducts cleaned. Hopefully based on what we found will give you an idea of what you would feel best doing.
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What is air duct cleaning?
You may have heard of getting your air ducts cleaned; many companies claim it’s the utmost necessity to clean the ductwork. Like it says it refers to the cleaning of ductwork and the various heating and cooling system components of forced air systems. However, the base price you may see online usually is a basic clean and it is an additional cost to clean all the components involved. This will include the ducting, coils, grills, vents, condensate pans, fan motors, and fan housings.
Suppose your ductwork shows excessive dirt, mold, or other growth signs. In that case, they may suggest applying a chemical biocide, which should kill all the bacteria, mold, and other contaminants in your ducting. If this is suggested make sure the company tests the mold and sends it to a lab prior to working on it.
Does the dust in our ductwork affect our health?
According to the EPA, they do not think so. They claim the dust collects in the duct but does not leave the duct. Once it has stuck in place, it is not going anywhere unless disturbed. The EPA says that there have been no actual studies on whether the dust in your ducts will be harmful to your health.
They also say that it is hard to tell whether the pollutants in your air are from your ductwork or not, but it is more likely that they come from outside sources, such as car exhaust, cooking, smoking, and cleaning. According to the EPA, if the dust is attached to the inside of your ducting, and there is nothing that will disturb it, then it may do more damage to clean it. They believe it will be dislodged and will spread through the house instead of staying safely attached to the ductwork.
However, I see the dust on my walls and fans sometimes it comes more than others. Having a good filter will help but may not prevent it all.
Recommended air filters
EPA’s recommendations can be found at: https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/should-you-have-air-ducts-your-home-cleaned
Why you may need your air ducts cleaned.
What are some reasons that you should have your duct cleaned?
Microbial growth: If you have mold or other growth in your ductwork, you should have your ducts cleaned by a professional. Mold is a dangerous thing if you do not manage it properly. You will need an experienced crew that knows how to remediate mold to clean and sanitize your ducting.
Animals, if you have had an animal infestation in your ductwork, then you will more than likely want it to be cleaned. This is more common for homebuyers who purchase a home that has sat empty for a while. Rodents may set up shop in the ductwork, but they may leave behind can be hazardous to your health. It will be best to get that cleaned and sanitized before utilizing the ductwork.
Insects: This will also usually be from an abandoned home or a filthy home that had an infestation.
Dust may come out of your duct. If you notice dirt and dust coming out of your vents or registers, you may want to consider having your ducting cleaned.
Water damage, this one could be from something such as a flood. However, this is a more complicated issue to recommend any action on. If your ducting does have insulation on the inside of it, then more than likely, you will need to replace your ducting as the insulation will begin to mold.
Decided to get your air ducts cleaned.
If you decide to move forward, be sure to discuss with the company what exactly they will clean. Ask if they can provide photos of the finished product.
It is essential to check the reviews and Google before hiring someone. Make sure you have a reputable company that has been around for a while.
Many companies offer free estimates. If you are concerned about the state of your ducting, then call a company and have them come and examine it for you. They will give you their recommendations, tell you how your ducting looks, and may show you photos. Hopefully, we have provided you with enough information to make the best choice given your circumstances and preferences. Breathe easier knowing that you will make the best decision for yourself and your family, no matter what.
Try our Virtual Handyman if you would like to attempt your own home maintenance projects.