How Often Should You Perform HVAC and Duct Cleaning?

One of the aspects of HVAC maintenance is cleaning of the ducts. However, logical as it may seem, duct cleaning might not be a great idea after all. Unlike dryer ducts which require regular checking and cleaning, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and similar organizations have never recommended cleaning HVAC ducts as a part of routine maintenance.

According to the EPA, there is no evidence that regular cleaning of ducts actually helps in the prevention of health problems. Furthermore, there is no evidence that dirty air ducts increase the level of particles such as dust in the home. Most of the dirt found in air ducts sticks to the surface of the ducts and does not find its way into the living spaces.

That is not to say that cleaning ducts is unwise; just that doing it on a regular basis in unnecessary. In fact, well-done duct cleaning is useful in some situations, such as cases where the ducts are vermin-infested or there is evidence of a lot of growth of visible mold in the HVAC ducts or mechanical components exposed to the air. In case your ducts are so filthy that they need to be cleaned, then it is a better idea to clean the whole HVAC system rather than cleaning only the ducts.

It is important to note that cleaning HVAC service ducts requires the use of specialized tools that shake up the dirt and other contaminants to dislodge them and make them airborne so that they can be vacuumed. The ducts might have to be cut to allow access for tools and thereafter, they need to be properly resealed. Powerful vacuums should be used to remove the dirt. If not carefully and properly done by certified professionals, duct cleaning may be more harmful than useful.

For instance, you may inadvertently release contaminants into the interior of your home as a result of failure to use a HEPA filtration system or failure to properly release the vacuum containment system. During duct cleaning HVAC service, holes may be cut into the ducts for tool access and system components may be disassembled. Failure to properly reseal the ducts or reassemble the components may damage the HVAC system, rendering it useless.

To mitigate the above risks, identify and hire a qualified contractor to properly clean your HVAC system and ducts. Making sure the contractor you hire has been trained and certified by the National Air Duct Cleaning Association (NADCA) is your best chance at having the duct cleaning performed safely.

According to NADCA, the main HVAC system and duct cleaning contactors trade association, the members are required to have as part of their staff at least one certified Air System Cleaning Specialist (ASCS). The specialist performs the cleaning and restoration of HVAC systems for customers in compliance with the guidelines and standards of the association.

Even though hiring an NADCA-certified contractor does not guarantee that some issues may not arise, it’s your best chance of getting HVAC system and duct cleaning services that meet your expectations.