Air Duct Cleaning: Worth the Investment? Tustin, CA

Air Duct Cleaning: Worth the Investment? Tustin, CA

Air ducts have long been used in American properties to effectively distribute both warm and cold air to all parts of the home, helping to maintain a comfortable temperature year round, but it’s only in recent times that greater emphasis has been placed on the maintenance of these ducts. This can be attributed to growing concerns about indoor air pollution and the effect that poor air quality can have on both our quality of life and our health. That brings us round to the purpose of this article: Should you have your air ducts cleaned out periodically? We’re going to provide you with several reasons why you should seriously consider it, based on our own personal experience of assisting home and business owners in and around Orange County, CA.

A Quick Introduction to Air Duct Cleaning: What Is It?

When you see air duct cleaning services advertised, this generally refers to an intensive “deep-clean” of the various components of your HVAC system, including but not limited to the supply and return air ducts and registers, the heat exchangers, the grilles and diffusers, the fan motor and its housing, the drip pans and the housing around the air handling unit. Each of these components of your HVAC system will likely accumulate dust particles, pollen and other types of debris over time, which can affect the performance of your HVAC system and potentially lead to other sorts of problems, including mold growth if moisture is present.

Several Reasons to Have Your Air Ducts Cleaned

Ultimately, no matter how much advice you are given or what your heating and cooling contractor tells you, the choice is yours as the property owner. However, before deciding you should inform yourself as well as you possibly can. Below you will find some compelling arguments for air duct cleaning, based on our years of professional experience as air duct and carpet cleaning contractors.

  • Considerable Energy Savings – Many home heating and cooling systems run extremely inefficiently, wasting as much as 40 percent of the energy consumed according to studies completed by the U.S Department of Energy. Contaminants such as dust and debris building up in the air ducts and other parts of the system such as the filters can put considerable strain on your furnace and air conditioning unit, forcing them to work harder to maintain the temperature inside your home at the same level. This inevitably increases energy consumption, leading to ever increasing bills. Air duct cleaning ensures that these contaminants aren’t allowed to build up, lowering your annual energy costs, sometimes quite considerably (heating and cooling usually accounts for half of the total amount spent on energy over the course of a year for most households).
  • Extend the Lifespan of Your HVAC System – Another effect of the buildup of dust and other contaminants in your air ducts is the increased wear and tear that your heating and cooling systems endure. The extra pressure put on the system forces its components to work harder and consequently they generally won’t last as long, making repairs and, in extreme cases, a complete replacement of your system much more likely. Air duct cleaning is a great (and extremely cost effective) way to protect your home’s heating and cooling systems and prolong their usable lifespan, saving you lots of money, not to mention potential headaches, in the long run.
  • Possible Health Benefits – We say “possible” as according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency duct cleaning has never actually been proven to have any health problems or prevent medical conditions. However, that’s not to say there’s isn’t any health related benefits. If there’s any moisture in your ducts and that combines with containments such as dust and other debris, mold growth is highly likely. If this growth takes place in the air ducts, mold spores will likely be carried into your living spaces, and mold in certain cases has been known to cause severe allergic reactions, as well as irritate serious respiratory conditions. Dust itself is a known trigger for asthma suffers and air duct cleaning improves the overall air quality inside your home.

Signs that Your Air Ducts Need Cleaning

As we’ve already established, the benefits of air duct cleaning can have a big impact upon your life, most notably in a financial and health sense. But even if you decide air duct cleaning is something that you should do, knowing when to do it is another question entirely. Below you’ll find a few clear indicators that indicate you need to get on the phone and hire a contractor right away.

  • Visible Signs of Mold Growth – If simply left to its own devices this will never end well, causing problems for both you and your home heating and cooling units. As previously mentioned, mold growing in air ducts will lead to mold spores being distributed right around your home.
  • Own Several Shedding Pets – If you own a number of animals that shed large amounts of hair, this can force your air ducts to become clogged with pet dander, reducing the efficiency with which they perform.
  • Evidence of Animal Infestation? – If you have seen evidence of rodents or insects living in your air ducts, it’s definitely time to get them cleaned by a qualified professional.
  • Clogged With Dirt And Dust – Even air ducts that were installed perfectly and are well cared for will gather dust. It’s your responsibility to ensure that this doesn’t spiral out of control and cause deteriorating living conditions inside your home.

Air ducts, just like carpets and other parts of your home, need to be carefully maintained if they are going to continue to do their job properly. If you suspect your air ducts need cleaning, getting a second opinion from a qualified contractor is the next step and make sure that you ask them to show you evidence of anything they find. If you reside in Orange County, CA and require air duct cleaning, carpet cleaning or assistance with water damage, don’t hesitate to give us a call.

Air Duct Cleaning, Tustin, CA

The air ducts within your house provide a really important function. They circulate the air out of your heating and cooling technique into and out of each area, which makes it possible for for constant interior comfort regardless of the season.
In actual fact, all the air in your dwelling circulates via the ducts several instances every day. The air cycling through your ducts may be the same air that fully fills your living environment…and it is actually exactly the same air that you just and your household breathe. As such, you would like this air to become as clean as possible.
Air Duct Cleaning refers
for the removal of dust and contaminants inside the ductwork. This contains the provide and return air ducts too because the registers and diffusers in each room. Highly effective vacuums whisk away all dust and debris, preventing it from re-circulating all through the residence.
There are many rewards to getting your air ducts professionally cleaned, the top 5 of which are listed below:
Creates a Cleaner Living
Environment
Having your air ducts professionally cleaned reduces the dust that would otherwise circulate throughout your living space, landing on your furniture, your bedding, your flooring…just about everywhere. Fortunately, a thorough air duct cleaning reduces the quantity of interior cleaning and dusting essential to keep a hygienic household.
Reduces Allergens and Irritants
Furthermore to dust, air ducts often include dangerous contaminants and microorganisms. These incorporate pet dander, bacteria, pollen, mildew, mold spores, and comparable toxins. Individuals who suffer from allergies, asthma, and other respiratory difficulties are especially sensitive to these airborne particles. A periodic air duct cleaning promotes healthier living…otherwise the dirty air inside your property just keeps re-circulating over and over.
Assists Every person Breathe Less complicated
Even when no one within your household suffers from chronic allergies or respiratory difficulties, cleaner air makes it a lot easier for everybody to breathe. Even among probably the most healthful, dust and pollutants getting into the nose and lungs can trigger sneezing and coughing, at the same time as sinus and bronchial congestion. Air duct cleaning creates a more comfortable environment and promotes well-being. Offered the option amongst clean air and dirty air, which would you rather breathe?
Removes Unpleasant Smells and Odors
Pets, household cleaning agents, paint fumes, mold, tobacco use
and even food preparation all contribute to stale smells within the air ducts. Each time the furnace or air conditioner is running, these odors will repeatedly flow by way of the property. Even an accumulation of dust and dirt more than the years can bring about a musty scent coming in the ductwork. A detailed cleaning on the air ducts removes all odor trapping particles, resulting inside a fresher smelling home.
Improves Airflow Efficiency
Ductwork and registers
which have a heavy buildup of dust and grime can restrict the flow of air in the furnace and air conditioner. This signifies your system may have to work harder to heat or cool your property, resulting inside a decreased amount of efficiency. Conversely, a clean program will operate at peak efficiency and deliver one of the most cost-effective overall performance for your energy dollar.

How to Prevent Air Duct Contamination in Tustin CA

How to Prevent Air Duct Contamination in Tustin CA

Whether or not you decide to have the air ducts in your home cleaned, committing to a good preventive maintenance program is essential to minimize duct contamination.

To prevent dirt from entering the system:

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Use the highest efficiency air filter recommended by the manufacturer of your heating and cooling system.

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Change filters regularly.

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If your filters become clogged, change them more frequently.

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Be sure you do not have any missing filters and that air cannot bypass filters through gaps around the filter holder.

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When having your heating and cooling system maintained or checked for other reasons, be sure to ask the service provider to clean cooling coils and drain pans.

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During construction or renovation work that produces dust in your home, seal off supply and return registers and do not operate the heating and cooling system until after cleaning up the dust.

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Remove dust and vacuum your home regularly. (Use a high efficiency vacuum (HEPA) cleaner or the highest efficiency filter bags your vacuum cleaner can take. Vacuuming can increase the amount of dust in the air during and after vacuuming as well as in your ducts).

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If your heating system includes in-duct humidification equipment, be sure to operate and maintain the humidifier strictly as recommended by the manufacturer.

Whether of not you decide to have the air ducts in your home cleaned, committing to a good preventive maintenance program is essential to minimize duct contamination.

To prevent ducts from becoming wet:

Moisture should not be present in ducts. Controlling moisture is the most effective way to prevent biological growth in air ducts.

Moisture can enter the duct system through leaks or if the system has been improperly installed or serviced. Research suggests that condensation (which occurs when a surface temperature is lower than the dew point temperature of the surrounding air) on or near cooling coils of air conditioning units is a major factor in moisture contamination of the system. The presence of condensation or high relative humidity is an important indicator of the potential for mold growth on any type of duct. Controlling moisture can often be difficult, but here are some steps you can take:

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Promptly and properly repair any leaks or water damage.

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Pay particular attention to cooling coils, which are designed to remove water from the air and can be a major source of moisture contamination of the system that can lead to mold growth. Make sure the condensate pan drains properly. The presence of substantial standing water and/or debris indicates a problem requiring immediate attention. Check any insulation near cooling coils for wet spots.

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Make sure ducts are properly sealed and insulated in all non-air-conditioned spaces (e.g., attics and crawl spaces). This will help to prevent moisture due to condensation from entering the system and is important to make the system work as intended. To prevent water condensation, the heating and cooling system must be properly insulated.

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If you are replacing your air conditioning system, make sure that the unit is the proper size for your needs and that all ducts are sealed at the joints. A unit that is too big will cycle on and off frequently, resulting in poor moisture removal, particularly in areas with high humidity. Also make sure that your new system is designed to manage condensation effectively.

How to Determine if the Duct Cleaner Did A Thorough Job, Tustin CA

How to Determine if the Duct Cleaner Did A Thorough Job, Tustin CA

A thorough visual inspection is the best way to verify the cleanliness of your heating and cooling system. Some service providers use remote photography to document conditions inside ducts. All portions of the system should be visibly clean; you should not be able to detect any debris with the naked eye. Show the Post-Cleaning Consumer Checklist to the service provider before the work begins. After completing the job, ask the service provider to show you each component of your system to verify that the job was performed satisfactorily.

If you answer “No” to any of the questions on the checklist, this may indicate a problem with the job. Ask your service provider to correct any deficiencies until you can answer “yes” to all the questions on the checklist.

Post Cleaning Consumer Checklist Yes No
General Did the service provider obtain access to and clean the entire heating and cooling system, including ductwork and all components (drain pans, humidifiers, coils and fans)?
Has the service provider adequately demonstrated that duct work and plenums are clean? (Plenum is a space in which supply or return air is mixed or moves; can be duct, joist space, attic and crawl spaces, or wall cavity.)
Heating Is the heat exchanger surface visibly clean?
Cooling
Components
Are both sides of the cooling coil visibly clean?
If you point a flashlight into the cooling coil, does light shine through the other side? It should if the coil is clean.
Are the coil fins straight and evenly spaced (as opposed to being bent over and smashed together)?
Is the coil drain pan completely clean and draining properly?
Blower Are the blower blades clean and free of oil and debris?
Is the blower compartment free of visible dust or debris?
Plenums Is the return air plenum free of visible dust or debris?
Do filters fit properly and are they the proper efficiency as recommended by HVAC system manufacturer?
Is the supply air plenum (directly downstream of the air handling unit) free of moisture stains and contaminants?
Metal Ducts Are interior ductwork surfaces free of visible debris? (Select several sites at random in both the return and supply sides of the system.)
Fiber Glass Is all fiber glass material in good condition (i.e., free of tears and abrasions; well adhered to underlying materials)?
Access Doors Are newly installed access doors in sheet metal ducts attached with more than just duct tape (e.g., screws, rivets, mastic, etc.)?
With the system running, is air leakage through access doors or covers very slight or non-existent?
Air Vents Have all registers, grilles and diffusers been firmly reattached to the walls, floors and/or ceilings?
Are the registers, grilles and diffusers visibly clean?
System Operation Does the system function properly in both the heating and cooling modes after cleaning?

What to Expect From an Air Duct Cleaning Service Provider, Tustin CA

What to Expect From an Air Duct Cleaning Service Provider, Tustin CA

If you choose to have your ducts cleaned, the service provider should:

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Open access ports or doors to allow the entire system to be cleaned and inspected.

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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.

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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.

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Protect carpet and household furnishings during cleaning.

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Use well-controlled brushing of duct surfaces in conjunction with contact vacuum cleaning to dislodge dust and other particles.

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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.)

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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.

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Follow NADCA‘s standards for air duct cleaning and NAIMA‘s recommended practice for ducts containing fiber glass lining or constructed of fiber glass duct board.

Suggestions for Choosing a Duct Cleaning Service Provider, Tustin CA

Suggestions for Choosing a Duct Cleaning Service Provider, Tustin CA

To find companies that provide duct cleaning services, check your Yellow Pages under “duct cleaning” or contact the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) at the address and phone number in the information section located at the end of this guidance. Do not assume that all duct cleaning service providers are equally knowledgeable and responsible. Talk to at least three different service providers and get written estimates before deciding whether to have your ducts cleaned. When the service providers come to your home, ask them to show you the contamination that would justify having your ducts cleaned.

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Do not hire duct cleaners who make sweeping claims about the health benefits of duct cleaning — such claims are unsubstantiated. Do not hire duct cleaners who recommend duct cleaning as a routine part of your heating and cooling system maintenance. You should also be wary of duct cleaners who claim to be certified by EPA. Note: EPA neither establishes duct cleaning standards nor certifies, endorses, or approves duct cleaning companies.

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Do not allow the use of chemical biocides or chemical treatments unless you fully understand the pros and the cons (See “Unresolved Issues of Duct Cleaning).

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Check references to be sure other customers were satisfied and did not experience any problems with their heating and cooling system after cleaning.

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Contact your county or city office of consumer affairs or local Better Business Bureau to determine if complaints have been lodged against any of the companies you are considering.

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Interview potential service providers to ensure:

  • they are experienced in duct cleaning and have worked on systems like yours;
  • they will use procedures to protect you, your pets and your home from contamination; and
  • they comply with NADCA‘s air duct cleaning standards and, if your ducts are constructed of fiber glass duct board or insulated internally with fiber glass duct liner, with the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association’s (NAIMA) recommendations.
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Ask the service provider whether they hold any relevant state licenses. As of 1996, the following states require air duct cleaners to hold special licenses: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Michigan and Texas. Other states may require them as well.

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If the service provider charges by the hour, request an estimate of the number of hours or days the job will take, and find out whether there will be interruptions in the work. Make sure the duct cleaner you choose will provide a written agreement outlining the total cost and scope of the job before work begins.

Deciding Whether or Not to Have Your Air Ducts Cleaned in Tustin CA

Deciding Whether or Not to Have Your Air Ducts Cleaned in Tustin CA

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:

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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.
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Ducts are infested with vermin, e.g. (rodents or insects)

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Ducts are clogged with excessive amounts of dust and debris and/or particles are actually released into the home from your supply registers.

Other Important Considerations

Duct cleaning has never been shown to actually prevent health problems. Neither do studies conclusively demonstrate that particle (e.g., dust) levels in homes increase because of dirty air ducts or go down after cleaning. This is because much of the dirt that may accumulate inside air ducts adheres to duct surfaces and does not necessarily enter the living space. It is important to keep in mind that dirty air ducts are only one of many possible sources of particles that are present in homes. Pollutants that enter the home both from outdoors and indoor activities such as cooking, cleaning, smoking, or just moving around can cause greater exposure to contaminants than dirty air ducts. Moreover, there is no evidence that a light amount of household dust or other particulate matter in air ducts poses any risk to health.

EPA does not recommend that air ducts be cleaned except on an as-needed basis because of the continuing uncertainty about the benefits of duct cleaning under most circumstances. EPA does, however, recommend that if you have a fuel burning furnace, stove, or fireplace, they be inspected for proper functioning and serviced before each heating season to protect against carbon monoxide poisoning. Some research also suggests that cleaning dirty cooling coils, fans and heat exchangers can improve the efficiency of heating and cooling systems. However, little evidence exists to indicate that simply cleaning the duct system will increase your system’s efficiency.

If you think duct cleaning might be a good idea for your home, but you are not sure, talk to a professional. The company that services your heating and cooling system may be a good source of advice. You may also want to contact professional duct cleaning service providers and ask them about the services they provide. Remember, they are trying to sell you a service, so ask questions and insist on complete and knowledgeable answers.

What is Air Duct Cleaning? Tustin CA

What is Air Duct Cleaning? Tustin CA

Most people are now aware that indoor air pollution is an issue of growing concern and increased visibility. Many companies are marketing products and services intended to improve the quality of your indoor air. You have probably seen an advertisement, received a coupon in the mail, or been approached directly by a company offering to clean your air ducts as a means of improving your home’s indoor air quality. These services typically — but not always — range in cost from $450 to $1,000 per heating and cooling system, depending on:
the services offered

  • the size of the system to be cleaned
  • system accessibility
  • climatic region
  • level of contamination

If you decide to have your heating and cooling system cleaned, it important to make sure the service provider agrees to clean all components of the system and is qualified to do so.

Duct cleaning generally refers to the cleaning of various heating and cooling system components of forced air systems, including the supply and return air ducts and registers, grilles and diffusers, heat exchangers heating and cooling coils, condensate drain pans (drip pans), fan motor and fan housing, and the air handling unit housing (See diagram).

If not properly installed, maintained and operated, these components may become contaminated with particles of dust, pollen or other debris. If moisture is present, the potential for microbiological growth (e.g., mold) is increased and spores from such growth may be released into the home’s living space. Some of these contaminants may cause allergic reactions or other symptoms in people if they are exposed to them. If you decide to have your heating and cooling system cleaned, it is important to make sure the service provider agrees to clean all components of the system and is qualified to do so. Failure to clean a component of a contaminated system can result in re-contamination of the entire system, thus negating any potential benefits. Methods of duct cleaning vary, although standards have been established by industry associations concerned with air duct cleaning. Typically, a service provider will use specialized tools to dislodge dirt and other debris in ducts, then vacuum them out with a high-powered vacuum cleaner.

In addition, the service provider may propose applying chemical biocides, designed to kill microbiological contaminants, to the inside of the duct work and to other system components. Some service providers may also suggest applying chemical treatments (sealants or other encapsulants) to encapsulate or cover the inside surfaces of the air ducts and equipment housings because they believe it will control mold growth or prevent the release of dirt particles or fibers from ducts. These practices have yet to be fully researched and you should be fully informed before deciding to permit the use of biocides or chemical treatments in your air ducts. They should only be applied, if at all, after the system has been properly cleaned of all visible dust or debris.

Note: Use of sealants to encapsulate the inside surfaces of ducts is a different practice than sealing duct air leaks. Sealing duct air leaks can help save energy on heating and cooling bills. For more information, see EPA’s Energy Star website.

Should You Have the Air Ducts in Your Home Cleaned? Tustin CA

Should You Have the Air Ducts in Your Home Cleaned? Tustin CA

Summary

Knowledge about air duct cleaning is in its early stages, so a blanket recommendation cannot be offered as to whether you should have your air ducts in your home cleaned. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) urges you to read this document in it entirety as it provides important information on the subject.

Duct cleaning has never been shown to actually prevent health problems. Neither do studies conclusively demonstrate that particle (e.g., dust) levels in homes increase because of dirty air ducts. This is because much of the dirt in air ducts adheres to duct surfaces and does not necessarily enter the living space. It is important to keep in mind that dirty air ducts are only one of many possible sources of particles that are present in homes. Pollutants that enter the home both from outdoors and indoor activities such as cooking, cleaning, smoking, or just moving around can cause greater exposure to contaminants than dirty air ducts. Moreover, there is no evidence that a light amount of household dust or other particulate matter in air ducts poses any risk to your health.

You should consider having the air ducts in your home cleaned if:

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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.
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Ducts are infested with vermin, e.g. (rodents or insects).

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Ducts are clogged with excessive amounts of dust and debris and/or particles are actually released into the home from your supply registers.

If any of the conditions identified above exists, it usually suggests one or more underlying causes. Prior to any cleaning, retrofitting, or replacing of your ducts, the cause or causes must be corrected or else the problem will likely recur.

Some research suggests that cleaning heating and cooling system components (e.g., cooling coils, fans and heat exchangers) may improve the efficiency of your system, resulting in a longer operating life, as well as some energy and maintenance cost savings. However, little evidence exists that cleaning only the ducts will improve the efficiency of the system.

You may consider having your air ducts cleaned simply because it seems logical that air ducts will get dirty over time and should be occasionally cleaned. Provided that the cleaning is done properly, no evidence suggests that such cleaning would be detrimental. EPA does not recommend that the air ducts be cleaned routinely, but only as needed. EPA does, however, recommend that if you have a fuel burning furnace, stove or fireplace, they be inspected for proper functioning and serviced before each heating season to protect against carbon monoxide poisoning.

If you do decide to have your air ducts cleaned, take the same consumer precautions you normally would in assessing the service provider’s competence and reliability.

Air duct cleaning service providers may tell you that they need to apply chemical biocide to the inside of your ducts as a means to kill bacteria (germs) and fungi (mold) and prevent future biological growth. They may also propose the application of a “sealant” to prevent dust and dirt particles from being released into the air or to seal air leaks. You should fully understand the pros and cons of permitting application of chemical biocides or sealants. While the targeted use of chemical biocides and sealants may be appropriate under specific circumstances, research has not demonstrated their effectiveness in duct cleaning or their potential adverse health effects. No chemical biocides are currently registered by EPA for use in internally-insulated air duct systems (see Should chemical biocides be applied to the inside of air ducts?).

Whether or not you decide to have the air ducts in your home cleaned, preventing water and dirt from entering the system is the most effective way to prevent contamination (see How to Prevent Duct Contamination).

Should You Have the Air Ducts in Your Home Cleaned? Tustin, CA

Knowledge about air duct cleaning is in its early stages, so a blanket recommendation cannot be offered as to whether you should have your air ducts in your home cleaned. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) urges you to read this document in it entirety as it provides important information on the subject.

Duct cleaning has never been shown to actually prevent health problems. Neither do studies conclusively demonstrate that particle (e.g., dust) levels in homes increase because of dirty air ducts. This is because much of the dirt in air ducts adheres to duct surfaces and does not necessarily enter the living space. It is important to keep in mind that dirty air ducts are only one of many possible sources of particles that are present in homes. Pollutants that enter the home both from outdoors and indoor activities such as cooking, cleaning, smoking, or just moving around can cause greater exposure to contaminants than dirty air ducts. Moreover, there is no evidence that a light amount of household dust or other particulate matter in air ducts poses any risk to your health.

You should consider having the air ducts in your home cleaned if:

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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.
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Ducts are infested with vermin, e.g. (rodents or insects).

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Ducts are clogged with excessive amounts of dust and debris and/or particles are actually released into the home from your supply registers.

If any of the conditions identified above exists, it usually suggests one or more underlying causes. Prior to any cleaning, retrofitting, or replacing of your ducts, the cause or causes must be corrected or else the problem will likely recur.

Some research suggests that cleaning heating and cooling system components (e.g., cooling coils, fans and heat exchangers) may improve the efficiency of your system, resulting in a longer operating life, as well as some energy and maintenance cost savings. However, little evidence exists that cleaning only the ducts will improve the efficiency of the system.

You may consider having your air ducts cleaned simply because it seems logical that air ducts will get dirty over time and should be occasionally cleaned. Provided that the cleaning is done properly, no evidence suggests that such cleaning would be detrimental. EPA does not recommend that the air ducts be cleaned routinely, but only as needed. EPA does, however, recommend that if you have a fuel burning furnace, stove or fireplace, they be inspected for proper functioning and serviced before each heating season to protect against carbon monoxide poisoning.

If you do decide to have your air ducts cleaned, take the same consumer precautions you normally would in assessing the service provider’s competence and reliability.

Air duct cleaning service providers may tell you that they need to apply chemical biocide to the inside of your ducts as a means to kill bacteria (germs) and fungi (mold) and prevent future biological growth. They may also propose the application of a “sealant” to prevent dust and dirt particles from being released into the air or to seal air leaks. You should fully understand the pros and cons of permitting application of chemical biocides or sealants. While the targeted use of chemical biocides and sealants may be appropriate under specific circumstances, research has not demonstrated their effectiveness in duct cleaning or their potential adverse health effects. No chemical biocides are currently registered by EPA for use in internally-insulated air duct systems (see Should chemical biocides be applied to the inside of air ducts?).

Whether or not you decide to have the air ducts in your home cleaned, preventing water and dirt from entering the system is the most effective way to prevent contamination (see How to Prevent Duct Contamination).