Air Ducts - When Should I have Them Cleaned?
We often get called by residential customers about having their air ducts cleaned. The discussion usually involves the following questions: First, when should I get my air ducts cleaned? Second, how often should I get my air ducts cleaned?
The answer to these questions of course is “it depends”. What is the reason you are looking to have your air ducts cleaned? There are several reasons we typically hear: general maintenance, post-construction cleaning, a fire occurred, or we think there is mold.
General maintenance is the most frequent answer, and is goes something like, “This hasn’t ever been done since I lived here.” Or “This hasn’t been done in years.” Unless there is loose dirt and other soils actively coming out of your vents, most likely it does not need to be cleaned. Anything that is up there is adhering to the ducting and will continue to do so.
The next most common situation is doing this for post construction cleaning. In this case, there may be some loose dirt or drywall dust where it maybe advantageous to have them cleaned. However, when major construction is being done in a home, it is always a good idea to turn off the HVAC system and close vents if possible to prevent particulate from getting into the ducting. Ideally, you don’t have this issue to deal with when the project is complete.
When a fire occurs, the soot and smoke can be very pervasive and get everywhere. An air duct cleaning for moderate to light smoke might do the job of removing loose particles and odor. For heavy fires it is often recommended to replace the ducting altogether.
Mold is another situation when it can be a clean or replace situation. An HVAC repair company should first be called to determine what is causing mold in the system. Sometimes we have seen it as simple as all other vents are closed with only one vent open. Other items to consider, how much of the ducting is affected by mold or is it just one or two grills? Antimicrobial can be used to kill existing growth. The key is to figure out the cause so a conducive environment for mold does not exist going forward. It is often a good to place an air scrubber to help clean the air as a precaution.
In conclusion, more times than not it is not necessary to have your air ducts cleaned. As for how often, it is usually just under special situations or if you actively seen particles coming out of the ducting.