Due to growing concerns about indoor air quality, it’s easy to convince homeowners that their ducts need cleaning. But unless ducts are really dirty, there’s no reason to clean them. The EPA takes a similar stance on the issue, recommending cleaning only if the ducts and HVAC unit are contaminated.
If done properly, duct cleaning doesn’t hurt; but it’s not something that needs to be on your regular home maintenance list. You probably don’t need to have your ducts and HVAC system cleaned unless:
Renovation: If your home has been remodeled – especially if there was asbestos abatement, lead paint removal, or significant dust – your ductwork may need to be cleaned. Ducts should be sealed off during home renovations; but if they weren’t, dangerous dust and debris may become lodged inside the ductwork.
Animals: If there’s evidence of animal infestation or nesting in your ducts or HVAC system, have the animals removed then clean the ductwork and HVAC unit.
Mold: If there is visible mold growth inside the ductwork, the ducts and HVAC system should be cleaned.
Contaminants: If noticeable debris, pet hair, odors, or other contaminants are being released into the room through the ducts after the registers have been cleaned and vacuumed; then the ducts may need to be cleaned.
Illness: If someone in your family is suffering from an unexplained allergy-related illness, and you’ve taken every other possible step to decontaminate your home, you may want to consider having your ducts cleaned to see if the HVAC system was the culprit.
The entire HVAC heating/cooling system should be inspected and cleaned as well.
While there are reputable, professional HVAC cleaning services out there, there are scams as well. Anytime scare tactics can be used to make the claim that your home might be “unhealthy,” homeowners run the risk of being frightened into emptying their checkbooks.
Here are some tips for avoiding scams if you decide to look into having the ducts and HVAC system in your home cleaned:
Full Service: Don’t settle for just duct cleaning; make sure the cleaning service is also going to do a full cleaning of the heating/cooling unit.
References: Get and check references in your area to find out what was provided for the money, and whether customers were satisfied.
Estimates: Ask for written estimates from at least three HVAC cleaning services. A reputable company should provide a free inspection and estimate.
Avoid Gimmicks: Ads for “$79 whole-house specials” are scams. At most a few ducts will get a very cursory vacuum; and at worst, you’ll end up talked into a much more expensive package. High-quality duct and HVAC cleaning should cost upwards of $500, take several hours with sophisticated equipment, and involve multiple workers.
Certifications: The cleaning company should be certified by the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA), which sets standards for HVAC system cleaning. The EPA does not certify duct cleaners, so avoid anyone making that claim. Check for relevant licenses and insurance – some states require a license for duct cleaning while others don’t.
Check Standards: The NADCA provides guidelines for professionals and customers on safe duct cleaning. If your ducts are insulated, the professional should also follow the guidelines of the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association (NAIMA).
Verify Results: You should be offered a complete visual inspection of the HVAC system and ductwork, either in person or by remote camera. Make sure every single duct is clean, and insist on an inspection of the inside of the HVAC unit, before paying for the services.
At EH Clean, our motto is "We don't cut corners, we clean them!" By stressing a quality, tailor-made cleaning service for all of our clients who demand the best, we have been able to build a strong and thriving business. We are owner operated and during the past 20 years we have gained a vast amount of knowledge, understanding and experience within all aspects of cleaning and it shows in our work.
Sources: Yahoo and YouTube
Indoor air quality
National Air Duct Cleaners Association
North American Insulation Manufacturers Association
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