Air Duct Cleaning; Homeowners Beware of When and How to Clean

Duct cleaning

The Difference Between Hype and Health

Air duct cleaning is a big business. Homeowners are often inundated with solicitations from air duct cleaning services warning about the dangers of unhealthy Indoor Air Quality (IAQ). Asserting that regular furnace air duct cleaning will provide multiple benefits, including:

  • Elimination or reduction of household allergens; such as mold, pollen, animal hair, and other contaminants.

  • Improved IAQ.

  • Elimination of house dust settling on furnishings.

  • HVAC system energy improvement, resulting in lower fuel costs.

  • Enhanced air flow for better heating and cooling.

With duct cleaning prices averaging about $1000 or more for a modest-sized house, homeowners who expect drastic improvement in these areas by regular furnace duct cleaning are likely to be disappointed.

According to research conducted by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) during the 1990s, claims of drastic improvements by cleaning ducts were exaggerated. Researchers have found that there was little or no discernable difference in the amount of airborne particles or improved air flow in ducts after cleaning.

HVAC ducting is primarily a sealed air delivery system; one that cannot create its own dust. Most dust gets tracked inside the home; it seeps in through window and door openings, or is created inside by human skin and hair shedding, pet debris, and fibers from various other sources such as carpet or clothing. In short, dust to one extent or another is always present. Simply walking around the house can raise a “cloud” of these various particles; regardless of whether or not the HVAC ductwork has been cleaned.

CMHC Canada recommends the use of a quality HVAC air filter to help keep air in the ducts clean; resulting in a cleaner HVAC system.

Valid Reasons for Air Duct Cleaning

While the CMHC and EPA agree that regular air duct cleaning has little or no effect on IAQ, duct cleaning is beneficial under the following conditions:

  • When moisture intrusion into the air ducts has resulted in mold growth. Mold should be removed, ducts disinfected where mold growth occurred, and the entire system cleaned by a certified air duct cleaning service. Using only approved cleaning methods, and products formulated for the specific type of air ducts installed. Note: in some cases, air ducts with internal fiberglass insulation should be removed and replaced.

  • When HVAC ducting has been breached; infested by rodents, insects, or other vermin.

  • When a blockage or partial blockage has noticeably reduced air flow. Having duct cleaning performed is the first step; before replacing or rerouting ducts to achieve or restore proper air flow.

Each condition indicates an underlying problem that must be rectified, or else conditions will persist. Other conditions requiring  the services of an air duct cleaning company include:

  • Moving into a newly constructed home - depending on the diligence of the contractor, construction debris may be present inside the air ducts. Including dry wall dust, miscellaneous pieces of fiberglass insulation, lumber scraps, sawdust, or even soft drink containers. Homes undergoing recent renovation projects can suffer the same type contamination, requiring duct cleaning services.

  • Large air return ducts with a noticeably slow moving air flow -since these type ducts are more prone to collect contaminates present in the home; especially when pets or young children are present. Having a professional perform the task using a special duct cleaning vacuum is preferred. But ambitious diy project homeowners can use a shop vac to remove what visible dust and debris they can. Cleaning the ducts, however, will not make a significant improvement in air flow.

While certain types of construction debris may demand duct cleaning for optimum air flow, both conditions listed above require air duct cleaning only at the discretion of the homeowner.

What to Look For in a Service Provider

When opting for a professional air duct cleaning, homeowners should be aware that there are different types of air ducts requiring different cleaning procedures, as well as different cleaning products.

An air duct cleaning service that is affiliated with or works closely with an HVAC contractor will be knowledgeable about the whole HVAC system. They will most likely be able to fine tune and service all parts of the system.

A good duct cleaning contractor will be certified and belong to a trade association, such as the National Air Duct Cleaning Association. (NADCA) They will provide thorough HVAC cleaning for all parts of the system. Including cooling coils, drain pan, and the fan or blower compartment; as well as fan or blower blades.

They should perform a visual inspection of the completed work, using either access panels into the ductwork, or with a special camera that can be snaked through the ducts to access even the most difficult areas of the system. Service providers should also possess a wealth of references from satisfied customers.

Be wary of any service provider who wants to apply a disinfectant or biocide to the entire system; by spray or fogging the ducts after completion of work. Under Canada's Pest Control Products Act, no such products have been registered or approved for duct cleaning purposes. And current research reveals that broadcast spraying of biocide products in a home is unacceptable.

Locate a Reliable Air Duct Cleaning Company

In the event of one of the conditions requiring professional air duct cleaning, homeowners all across Canada are turning to Where finding professional help has never been easier or more convenient.

Whether for duct cleaning or air duct cleaning services; homeowners sign up without cost or obligation. And then post their project online; where it is immediately seen by reliable service providers in their community.

Area contractors also receive instant e-mail notification of new project listings in their field of expertise, and compete for the project; providing bids in days, even hours from project posting.

Homeowners can view each contractor's company profile, references, insurance, licensing or certification information, customer comments and feedback, and even photographs of recently completed projects. And then make an informed hiring decision, or hire no one at all; remember, there is no obligation whatsoever.

Posted by: TrustedPros
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