The Pros and Cons of Having Your Ducts Cleaned
When professionals are hired to clean a home or business’s air ducts, they will not only clean the return-air grilles or registers and the interior of the ducts, they may also clean the air conditioning pump. In some cases, a disinfectant may also be used to kill any mold or bacteria that may be growing. While it seems like regularly cleaning a dirty duct makes sense, it is actually not clear if there are any pros or cons to having your ducts cleaned.
The Pros of Having Your Ducts Cleaned
Currently, there is no evidence that indicates that cleaning your air ducts is beneficial for either your heating and cooling systems or your health. However, one of the main reasons that homeowners often choose to have their ducts professionally cleaned is for peace of mind. Not only will the cleaning get rid of any dust, the professional is likely to spot any problems.
There are a few other possible advantages to duct cleanings, though it is important to note that these reasons are not substantiated. For example, duct cleanings may:
- Increased HVAC equipment efficiency
- A reduction in unpleasant odors
- A reduction in the spread of mold spores throughout the home
- Improved respiratory health
There are a few instances where you may wish to have your air ducts clean. For example, if you are moving into a new home, if your HVAC system sustained damages due to fire or flooding, there is evidence of pest infestation or if you have pets that shed, an air duct cleaning may be beneficial.
The Cons of Having Your Ducts Cleaned
There is also no evidence that indicates that a proper duct cleaning can negatively impact your health. It should be noted that dust and other contaminants often stick to the duct surfaces, never making it into the circulating air. Contaminants that can negatively impact your health are actually most likely brought indoors from outside.
Another potential problem is that the actual cleaning process can cause the contaminants and dust to be spread throughout the living space when they are disrupted. In some cases, it may be suggested that chemical biocides be used. These chemical biocides supposedly kill any microbiological contaminants that may be stuck in the decks and vents. However, the EPA notes that research into how these biocides can impact your indoor air quality is not complete.
Dusty Ducts could Indicate Problems with Your HVAC Systems
Although air ducts are likely to get a little bit dusty as the particles stick to the dust surface, your ducts should never get to the point where they are caked in dirt and grime. If your ducts are extremely dirty, it is likely that there are some other problems with your HVAC equipment. In order to prevent the buildup of dust and other contaminants, there are a couple things that you can do:
- Use a high quality filter that traps particles. Make sure you replace or clean that filter as recommended by the manufacturer.
- Vacuum your home frequently to pick up dust and pet hair that may become trapped in your vents and ducts.
- When you replace your air conditioner, consider replacing your air ducts.
- Have your air conditioner or heater installed by a reputable contractor who will properly seal your ducts.
Ultimately, if you and your family are moving into a new home, have severe allergies or believe that your HVAC system is not working efficiently, you may wish to have your air ducts cleaned. Just be aware that more research is needed to determine whether or not there is a real advantage to having your ducts professionally cleaned.