A mild bit of controversy surrounds the practice of HVAC ductwork cleaning. The EPA, for example, is relatively non-committal on the subject, but their website makes it clear they are skeptical of its utility in most instances.
No one disputes that contaminated ductwork can spread dust, dirt, pollen and microbial agents through open registers, and when true contamination is suspected duct cleaning does have potential health benefits. But as the EPA stresses there is no hard evidence to prove that duct cleaning in general will prevent outbreaks of illness or reduce the frequency of allergic reactions.
Ductwork will inevitably get somewhat dusty and dirty, that is entirely natural. But this type of accumulation should not generate great concern. On the other hand, if inhabitants of a particular space frequently experience symptoms of allergy or illness, hiring a qualified company to clean your ducts could be a wise decision.
When Cleaning Makes Sense
If any of the following apply to your situation, a good duct cleaning may be worth the investment:
- You’ve just completed a home renovation project and did not seal off all ductwork entrance points.
- You’ve just finished vacuuming out your registers and noticed a lot of dust, debris or pet hair drifting back into the room.
- You can see mold growing somewhere inside your ductwork, or have strong reason to believe moisture is present in your duct system (this is highly conducive to mold).
- You or others in your family have been experiencing chronic allergy symptoms with no obvious identifiable cause.
- Your ductwork has been infested by rodents or insects (they should be removed before the cleaning).
How to Pick a Good Duct Cleaning Contractor
There are plenty of fly-by-night operators offering duct cleaning services, which is why the procedure has gotten somewhat of a bad reputation.
Legitimate companies should be able to provide high-quality customer references, prove they have been certified by the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA), be willing to inspect and evaluate your ductwork for free, provide written cost estimates if they recommend a cleaning and be able to give you a firm time frame for the completion of the job.
A good, thorough duct cleaning should cost you a few hundred dollars, and if a contractor offers to do it for a much smaller sum you’re probably dealing with scammers and you should run, not walk, away as fast as you can.
Yes or No?
Even if there is no specific indication of excessive contamination, if you’ve lived in your home for several years and have never once had your ductwork cleaned it would probably be a good idea to at least arrange an inspection.
When you look for a contractor to consult with be sure to check their online reviews and Better Business Bureau profile to see if there is any history of complaints. You need an honest assessment of your situation and you may not get one if you get mixed up with an unscrupulous service provider.
Follow us here for more important information about your HVAC systems and air quality needs.