You may have heard that duct cleaning is the path to better indoor air quality and energy efficiency in your home. However, the U.S. EPA recommends that unless you have verified that mold is growing in the ducts, you have evidence of rodents or insects living in the ducts, or dust and debris are blowing out of the registers, it’s probably not necessary.
If you have one or more of these problems inside your ducts, ask a trusted HVAC contractor to inspect them. They may find evidence of mice or bugs, and can send suspected mold samples to a certified laboratory for confirmation. Beware of using a duct cleaning company that does not hold any kind of HVAC or NADCA license, that insists you need duct cleaning on an annual basis, or that quotes a ridiculously low fee. (Some unscrupulous outfits will pull a “bait and switch,” charging an elevated fee after the work is done.)
Methods vary for cleaning your ducts, but before signing the contract to have them cleaned, ask the representatives the type of equipment they use and if they use any chemicals. If they use chemicals, make sure that they’re environmentally safe for you to breathe in the short- and long-term.
Most duct-cleaning equipment uses suction to remove the debris inside the ducts, and if the contractor doesn’t vent the equipment outdoors, make sure that they use a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter that traps 99 percent or more of the particles removed. The cleaning should also extend to your entire HVAC system.
If you have flexible ducts, it may make more economic sense to replace them rather than have them cleaned. These ducts are relatively cheap and may tear during a cleaning. Metal or fiberglass ducts stand up to cleaning better, since the materials are stronger.
If you’d like more information about duct cleaning and whether it would benefit you, contact Geisel Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. We’ve provided HVAC services in the greater Cleveland area for more than 77 years.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Western Cleveland, Ohio about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about duct cleaning and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.