In order to ensure the highest quality of indoor air, you will want to clean your ducts every couple of years. The air flowing throughout your home or business travels through duct systems before coming out of your vents, ultimately to be breathed in. If you have dirty air ducts, the air being circulated in your home will first have to travel through these unclean spaces. Make sure you are changing out your air filters regularly and read below to learn more about cleaning your air ducts:
Knowledge about the potential benefits and possible problems of air duct cleaning is limited. Since conditions in every home are different, it is impossible to generalize about whether or not air duct cleaning in your home would be beneficial.
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 odor or visible mold growth), having your air ducts cleaned is probably unnecessary. It is normal for the return registers to get dusty as dust-laden air is pulled through the grate. This does not indicate that your air ducts are contaminated with heavy deposits of dust or debris; the registers can be easily vacuumed or removed and cleaned.
On the other hand, if family members are experiencing unusual or unexplained symptoms or illnesses that you think might be related to your home environment, you should discuss the situation with your doctor. EPA has published the following publications for guidance on identifying possible indoor air quality problems and ways to prevent or fix them.
You may consider having your air ducts cleaned simply because it seems logical that air ducts will get dirty over time and should occasionally be cleaned. While the debate about the value of periodic duct cleaning continues, no evidence suggests that such cleaning would be detrimental, provided that it is done properly.
On the other hand, if a service provider fails to 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 inadequately trained service provider can damage your ducts or heating and cooling system, possibly increasing your heating and air conditioning costs or forcing you to undertake difficult and costly repairs or replacements.
You should consider having the air ducts in your home cleaned if:
There is substantial visible mold growth inside hard surface (e.g., sheet metal) ducts or on other components of your heating and cooling system. There are several important points to understand concerning mold detection in heating and cooling systems:
- Many sections of your heating and cooling system may not be accessible for a visible inspection, so ask the service provider to show you any mold they say exists.
- You should be aware that although a substance may look like mold, a positive determination of whether it is mold or not can be made only by an expert and may require laboratory analysis for final confirmation. For about $50, some microbiology laboratories can tell you whether a sample sent to them on a clear strip of sticky household tape is mold or simply a substance that resembles it.
- If you have insulated air ducts and the insulation gets wet or moldy it cannot be effectively cleaned and should be removed and replaced.
- If the conditions causing the mold growth in the first place are not corrected, mold growth will recur.
- Ducts are infested with vermin, e.g. (rodents or insects)
- Ducts are clogged with excessive amounts of dust and debris and/or particles are actually released into the home from your supply registers.
What to Expect From an Air Duct Cleaning Service Provider
If you choose to have your ducts cleaned, the service provider should:
- Open access ports or doors to allow the entire system to be cleaned and inspected.
- Inspect the system before cleaning to be sure that there are no asbestos-containing materials (e.g., insulation, register boots, etc.) in the heating and cooling system. Asbestos-containing materials require specialized procedures and should not be disturbed or removed except by specially trained and equipped contractors.
- Use vacuum equipment that exhausts particles outside of the home or use only high-efficiency particle air (HEPA) vacuuming equipment if the vacuum exhausts inside the home.
- Protect carpet and household furnishings during cleaning.
- Use well-controlled brushing of duct surfaces in conjunction with contact vacuum cleaning to dislodge dust and other particles.
- Use only soft-bristled brushes for fiberglass duct board and sheet metal ducts internally lined with fiberglass. (Although flex duct can also be cleaned using soft-bristled brushes, it can be more economical to simply replace accessible flex duct.)
- Take care to protect the duct work, including sealing and re-insulating any access holes the service provider may have made or used so they are airtight.
Affordable AC Maintenance in Houston
Autumn Mechanical — formerly Autumn Air delivers a single-point resource for mechanical contracting and service. Based in Spring, TX, Autumn Mechanical specializes in HVAC, plumbing, and refrigeration services. Serving customers in Houston, Dallas, and surrounding areas, our professional technicians serve with expertise and integrity.
With over 30 years of experience in the air conditioning and heating business, the team at Autumn Mechanical has built a trusted reputation throughout the communities of Houston. Our air conditioning services include but are not limited to, residential/commercial AC and heating, repair, service, installation, maintenance, and heat pump equipment repair.
Whenever you are looking for high-quality air conditioning and heating services at a day affordable price, we can help! We service and replace both commercial and residential HVAC systems in order to bring you the ultimate climate control. Don’t hesitate to give us a call today to find out what we can do for your home or business.
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