You develop respiratory infections, illness If your family gets sick more than usual, has coughing, sneezing, sore throat, runny nose, stuffy nose, headaches, and mild fevers, they may have upper respiratory tract infections as a result of dirty air passages. An official website of the United States Government Official websites use. gov A. gov belongs to an official government organization in the United States.
Knowledge about cleaning air ducts is in its early stages, so a general recommendation cannot be offered on whether you should clean the air ducts in your home. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) urges you to read this document in its entirety, as it provides important information on the subject. Duct Cleaning Has Never Been Proven To Actually Prevent Health Problems. Nor do studies conclusively show that the particle (for example,.
This is because much of the dirt from the air ducts adheres to the surfaces of the ducts and does not necessarily enter the living space. It is important to note that dirty air ducts are just one of many possible sources of particulate matter that are present in homes. Contaminants that enter the home from both outdoor and indoor activities, such as cooking, cleaning, smoking, or simply moving around, can cause greater exposure to pollutants than dirty air ducts. In addition, there is no evidence that a small amount of household dust or other particles in the air ducts poses any risk to your health.
If any of the conditions identified above exist, it usually suggests one or more underlying causes. Before any cleaning, adaptation or replacement of your ducts, the cause or causes must be corrected or, otherwise, the problem is likely to recur. Some research suggests that cleaning heating and cooling system components (for example,. However, there is little evidence that cleaning just the ducts will improve system efficiency.
You may consider cleaning the air ducts simply because it seems logical that the air ducts become dirty over time and be cleaned from time to time. As long as cleaning is done correctly, there is no evidence to suggest that such cleaning is harmful. EPA does not recommend that air ducts be cleaned routinely, but only when necessary. However, the EPA recommends that if you have a furnace, stove, or fireplace that burns fuel, it be inspected for proper operation and serviced before each heating season to protect against carbon monoxide poisoning.
If you decide to have your air ducts cleaned, take the same consumer precautions that you would normally take when evaluating the competence and reliability of the service provider. Whether or not you decide to clean the air ducts in your home, preventing water and dirt from entering the system is the most effective way to prevent contamination (see How to Avoid Duct Contamination). If you decide to clean your heating and cooling system, it is important to ensure that the service provider agrees to clean all components of the system and is qualified to do so. In addition, the service provider can propose the application of chemical biocides, designed to remove microbiological contaminants, inside ducts and in other components of the system.
Some service providers may also suggest applying chemical treatments (sealants or other encapsulants) to encapsulate or cover the inner surfaces of air ducts and equipment housings because they believe they will control mold growth or prevent the release of dirt particles or fibers of the ducts. These practices have not yet been fully investigated and you should be fully informed before deciding to allow the use of biocidal products or chemical treatments in your air ducts. They should only be applied, if any, after the system has been properly cleaned of all visible dust or dirt. Knowledge about the potential benefits and potential problems of air duct cleaning is limited.
Since the conditions in each home are different, it is impossible to generalize whether cleaning the air ducts in your home would be beneficial or not. On the other hand, if family members are experiencing unusual or unexplained symptoms or illnesses that you think may be related to your home environment, you should discuss the situation with your doctor. EPA has published the following publications for guidance on identifying potential indoor air quality problems and ways to prevent or address them. While the debate over the value of regular duct cleaning continues, there is no evidence to suggest that such cleaning is harmful, provided it is done correctly.
On the other hand, if a service provider does not follow proper duct cleaning procedures, duct cleaning can cause indoor air problems. For example, an inadequate vacuum collection system can release more dust, dirt and other contaminants than if you had left the ducts alone. A careless or poorly trained service provider can damage your ducts or heating and cooling system, possibly increasing your heating and cooling costs or forcing you to perform difficult and costly repairs or replacements. This is because much of the dirt that can accumulate inside the air ducts adheres to the surfaces of the ducts and does not necessarily enter the living space.
In addition, there is no evidence that a small amount of household dust or other particulates in the air ducts poses any health hazard. The EPA does not recommend that air ducts be cleaned except as necessary due to ongoing uncertainty about the benefits of duct cleaning in most circumstances. Some research also suggests that cleaning dirty cooling coils, fans, and heat exchangers can improve the efficiency of heating and cooling systems. However, there is little evidence that simply cleaning the duct system will increase the efficiency of your system.
If you think duct cleaning may be a good idea for your home, but you're not sure, talk to a professional. The company that serves your heating and cooling system can be a good source of advice. You can also contact professional duct cleaning service providers and ask them about the services they provide. Remember that they are trying to sell you a service, so ask questions and insist on getting complete and knowledgeable answers.
A thorough visual inspection is the best way to verify the cleanliness of your heating and cooling system. Some service providers use remote photography to document conditions inside ducts. All parts of the system must be visibly clean; it must not be able to detect any debris with the naked eye. Show Consumer Checklist After Cleaning to Service Provider Before Work Begins.
After you complete the job, ask the service provider to show you each component of the system to verify that the job was successful. Whether or not you decide to clean your home's air ducts, it's essential to commit to a good preventive maintenance program to minimize duct contamination. There should be no moisture in the ducts. Controlling humidity is the most effective way to prevent biological growth in air ducts.
You may be familiar with air ducts that are made of sheet metal. However, many modern residential air duct systems are constructed of fiberglass panels or sheet metal ducts that are lined on the inside with a fiberglass duct liner. Since the early 1970s, there has been a significant increase in the use of flexible ducts, which are usually lined internally with plastic or some other type of material. Experts agree that moisture should not be present in the ducts, and if there is moisture and dirt, there is a possibility that biological contaminants will grow and spread throughout the house.
Controlling humidity is the most effective way to prevent biological growth in all types of air ducts. Air duct cleaning service providers can tell you that they need to apply a chemical biocide inside the ducts to kill bacteria (germs) and fungi (mold) and prevent future biological growth. Some duct cleaning service providers may propose to introduce ozone to remove biological pollutants. Ozone is a highly reactive gas that is regulated in outdoor air as a lung irritant.
However, there remains considerable controversy over the necessity and wisdom of introducing chemical biocides or ozone into pipelines. While some low-toxic products may be legally applied while the occupants of the house are present, you may want to consider leaving the premises while applying the biocide as an additional precaution. Manufacturers of products marketed to coat and encapsulate duct surfaces claim that these sealants prevent dust and dirt particles inside air ducts from being released into the air. As with biocides, a sealant is often applied by spraying it into the operating duct system.
Laboratory tests indicate that materials introduced in this way tend not to completely cover the surface of the duct. The application of sealants may also affect the acoustic (noise) and fire retardant characteristics of ducts lined or constructed with fiberglass and may invalidate the manufacturer's warranty. Most organizations dealing with duct cleaning, including EPA, NADCA, NAIMA and the National Association of Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors (SMACNA), currently do not recommend the routine use of sealants to encapsulate contaminants in any type of duct. Cases where the use of sealants to encapsulate duct surfaces may be appropriate include repair of damaged fiberglass insulation or when combating fire damage within ducts.
Sealants should never be used on wet duct lining, to cover actively growing mold or to cover debris in ducts, and should only be applied after cleaning in accordance with NADCA or other appropriate guidelines or standards. Office of Radiation and Indoor Air Division of Indoor Environments (6609J) 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N, W. Along with possible health hazards, dirty ducts cause bad odors. Because of mold and mildew, you will begin to notice a musty smell in the home, which only worsens the situation.
Even your HVAC system can become less efficient, increasing the risk of disease or disease. Cleaning the ducts can pose a danger to you and your family if dirt is allowed to spread to your home. Air pollutants can cause allergic reactions, such as a runny nose, sneezing and wheezing in people struggling with asthma. Black mold releases spores that are very toxic and harmful to human health.
Some of the most serious cases can leave a person with persistent headaches, chronic fatigue, nausea and vomiting. The scariest thing about mold is that the spores shed and spread easily through other areas of your home or office through ducts. They can also propose the application of a sealant to prevent dust and dirt particles from being released into the air or to seal air leaks. If no one in your household suffers from allergies or unexplained symptoms or illnesses and if, after a visual inspection of the inside of the ducts, you see no indication that your air ducts are contaminated with large deposits of dust or mold (no musty smell or visible mold growth), clean the air ducts probably is unnecessary.
In addition, the sealants have not yet been evaluated for resistance to deterioration over time, which could add particulates to the duct air. If you notice debris such as heavy dust on the outside of the ventilation grilles or if there are noticeable dust jets coming from the vents, it is time to consider cleaning the vents and ducts. If sufficient dirt and moisture are allowed to enter the duct system, there may be no significant difference in the rate or degree of microbial growth in the internally lined or bare sheet metal ducts. But these creatures are also carriers of a fair amount of diseases, and when they get into the air ducts, their germs enter the air you breathe and are carried around the house.
When the ductwork is clogged, air conditioning components will consume more energy as they work harder to circulate air throughout the home. While many of these products can legally be used inside unlined ducts if all directions on the label are followed, some of the instructions on the label may not be suitable for use in ducts. Keeping your home or office as clean and dust-free as possible is a good starting point, however, cleaning floors and dusting just isn't enough. .