EPA does not recommend that air ducts be cleaned routinely, but only when necessary. Printable version · A guide to indoor air quality · Indoor air pollution You may consider cleaning your 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. 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 a member of your household suffers from unexplained allergies, duct cleaning may be the solution you need to rid your home of the source of symptoms. If you have taken all possible steps to eliminate allergens from your home, but symptoms continue to appear, allergens within the duct system could be the cause. The average duct system needs to be cleaned every two to five years. If your system is properly maintained and filters are changed twice a year, you can increase the time between professional cleanings.
If your system has never been cleaned and has been active on your property for more than three years, it will likely need to be cleaned. Even a single season can accumulate enough dust and debris in your system to make it less efficient than it was when it was first installed. 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. 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 from the ducts.
Start by identifying if your ducts are part of the problem (they probably aren't) and if cleaning them will help (probably isn't). Researchers at the Environmental Protection Agency measured dust levels and efficiency of the HVAC system in test homes over a one-week period during the cooling season and found that cleaning the ducts did not significantly improve dust levels or performance. Duct cleaning is an “as needed” service, meaning there is usually no need to perform it on a regular basis, such as preventive maintenance adjustments to the HVAC system. While there are some benefits to cleaning and maintaining HVAC equipment, that benefit is relatively small and the little energy waste can be attributed to dirty ducts or equipment.
An air duct cleaning technician will be able to identify and fix any mold issues, and will also help prevent their return. Experts recommend cleaning the air ducts every 2 to 3 years to avoid many maintenance and health problems before they start. Don't make the mistake of thinking that because you have a filter in your system, your ducts don't need to be cleaned. When service providers arrive at your home, ask them to show you the contamination that would justify cleaning the ducts.
You may be able to see visible mold growth inside the ducts or components of the HVAC system, or it could be growing somewhere deeper inside the duct system that you cannot access. If you think duct cleaning may be a good idea for your home, but you're not sure, talk to a professional. In the latter case, you may want to invest more often in cleaning the air ducts to avoid allergic reactions. Considering how air ducts appear in many different areas of your home, it makes perfect sense to clean them from time to time.
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. .