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Does Your Residential HVAC System Need Duct Cleaning? Here’s What to Ask

Ductwork Cleaning Services Abound. But Do You Really Need Them?

ductwork, HVAC maintenance

It feels like summertime, and that means a whole lot of people will be approached about “ductwork cleaning services” by salespeople who call, email or even visit your home unannounced. To hear these folks talk, practically every home is teeming with mold and other dangerous bacteria lurking in their ductwork, waiting to sicken the entire family with toxic debris and irritants. Even Fido or Fluffy is implicated in the ductwork cleaning sales pitch as a source of sinister fuzz that might kill you if it accumulates.

So how likely is this scenario? Should we all be concerned?

The short answer? It depends. Go over the checklist below to see if you fit into any of these categories. If you do, you might consider it, by a qualified HVAC professional. If you don’t, skip ahead to read about what you should know about duct cleaning services.

Do you have rodents, birds or worse in the ducts?

Rats and mice living in the ductwork can make you sick, while also exuding debris that clogs up the HVAC equipment, too. If you know you have critters living around your ductwork, get it inspected by an HVAC professional to check for evidence of damage or infestation. If it has been contaminated, consider cleaning.

Have you recently remodeled?

Dust and debris from the materials used may have settled in your ductwork, and need removal. Likewise, if your home required asbestos or lead abatement, you should definitely consider extra maintenance on the ducts to ensure nothing is left of that process.

Do you have recent water damage?

Is mold an issue within your home or around your HVAC equipment? If you have or have recently had leaks around your HVAC system, you need your ductwork checked for mold. Obvious signs like musty smells or even frequent respiratory infections among family members are red flags to be examined, stat.

What You Should Know About Duct Cleaning Services

Whether or not you fit in any of the categories above, please note we suggest a qualified inspection first.  One hazard of duct cleaning services is that in doing an inspection, an inexperienced provider may damage, bend, or incorrectly remove/reinstall your ducts. This translates into leaks and holes where air can escape.  In the end, this will cost you more in terms of repair and wasted energy bills than the original cleaning. Don’t do it. And ditto on any sealants, sprays or other chemical treatments. The EPA does not recommend it, and these processes can further damage your system.  Avoid steam cleaning (moisture in your ductwork is never a good idea), too.

Finally, remember that the ductwork cleaning person may not remind you that the intake ducts are far dirtier than the supply ducts (the ones that deliver hot or cold air into the rooms). They don’t usually have filters, because they’re just bringing air to the unit. If you are shown an “intake duct” as an example of the filth inside your ductwork, chances are it’s a scam.

Have questions about your ductwork or overall HVAC system? Give the trusted professionals at Air-Tro a call. (626) 357-3535.