Over time, the air ducts in your home create a thick lining of dust, toxins, and debris. These are re-circulated inside your house, causing allergic symptoms and increased energy costs as your HVAC system works harder to cool or heat your home.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Air Duct Cleaners Association, homeowners and commercial establishments can enjoy improved air quality and energy efficiency by cleaning dust and debris from ducts, ventilation, central air conditioners, and furnaces.
But professional duct cleaning provides more than dust reduction. It helps to eliminate other contaminants such as pollen, pet dander, chemicals, and powdery mildew and mold that accumulate in the air ducts, registers, grilles and diffusers, heat exchangers, fan housing, coils, and the HVAC unit housing.
How often should you schedule duct cleaning?
The NADCA recommends that homeowners get their ducts cleaned once every 3 to 5 years except when living with someone who has asthma or allergies, in which case it should be done annually. In fact, the EPA claims that other activities such as keeping the systems maintained, ensuring that moisture doesn’t get in, inspecting and replacing the filters, and scheduling regular professional inspections are more important.
The EPA claims that homeowners should not feel necessarily obliged to clean their vents unless:
- Your property has been renovated
Ducts should be sealed off during any remodelling work to reduce the risk of dust and debris accumulating inside the ductwork. Still, you should schedule duct cleaning after a home renovation project, especially if there was substantial dust, lead paint removal, or asbestos abatement.
- There are animals inside
It is not unusual for birds to nest or animals to infest your ducts or HVAC system. If this happens, have them removed and the ductwork cleaned.
- There’s visible mold growth
If you notice signs of mold growth within the ducts or ductwork, you should get the system cleaned
- There are noticeable contaminants
If you notice debris, odours, pet hair, and other contaminants being released into your living environment via the ducts, even after cleaning and vacuuming the registers, you should get the ducts cleaned.
- It results in illness
If one of the members of your household exhibits symptoms of an allergy-related illness, even after all attempts to decontaminate the interior environment, you should get your ducts cleaned.
There are other factors that may influence how often you should get the ducts cleaned, such as smoking, overall home cleanliness, and local weather conditions. During routine inspections a good contractor should offer to inspect the ducts to determine if cleaning is necessary. Otherwise, you can wait 3-5 years before your next duct cleaning.