who’ve hired a reputable air duct cleaning contractor are often
pleased with the results. While there’s no scientific evidence to
prove that vent cleaning has a direct and significant benefit, experts
agree there’s some benefit to having air duct cleaning performed,
particularly if you hire a skilled professional.
The National Air
Duct Cleaners Association recommends getting your air ducts cleaned
every three to five years. Ed Mack, owner of Air Duct Professionals in
Lake Elsinore, Calif., says homeowners should consider doing it every
two to five years, depending on their circumstances.
you need it will depend on what part of the country you’re in, how
often you use your system, and if anyone in your home has allergies or
asthma," Mack says.
Environmental Protection Agency recommends cleaning air ducts when:
— You suspect
that mold exists in the air ducts.
— You notice a
vermin infestation somewhere in the home, or you see insects or
rodents entering or exiting ductwork.
— You see a
visible "poof" of dust released from the supply registers
when air is exiting the vents.
taking a look inside your air vent register.
notice black debris around the outside, that’s pollutants that have
been recycled through the system over and over again, and that’s a
sign your system is excessively soiled," he says. "Also,
take a look at your system when you change your filter. If there’s a
lot of dust buildup in that area, that’s another sign you’re
overdue for a cleaning."
including the EPA, have not endorsed air duct cleaning as a remedy for
health issues, but cleaners say they’ve amassed a growing body of
anecdotal evidence that it does provide some benefit.
tens of thousands of customers over 26 years that will tell you they’ve
enjoyed the benefits of air duct cleaning to their environment,"
says Michael Vinick, NADCA president.
Mack says a
proper air duct cleaning will help with the biggest causes of
respiratory problems. "If you have asthma, your number one enemy
is dust mites," he says. "And for people with allergies,
pollen and dander are a big problem. These are microscopic elements
you can’t see with the naked eye, and they’re commonly found in
air ducts. A good cleaning will remove a lot of them."
standards caution that these elements will only be removed by a
thorough cleaning that addresses every part of the system that air
moves across, not just the air ducts.
cleaner is going to use a negative air machine and a rotary brush
cabling system," Mack says. "The brush goes through the
ducts and knocks the debris loose, and the negative air machine
vacuums it away."
homeowners should clean air ducts under these circumstances:
— Every three
to five years. Be wary of a contractor who suggests more frequent
— When you
move into a new home, unless you know the previous homeowner serviced
the air ducts within the last three years.
building a new home. It’s likely the ducts have built up debris from
drywall dust and other materials used during the construction phase.
completing a home remodeling project. Construction projects spread
sawdust throughout the home, and unless you go to lengths to protect
the ducts, the dust will extend into the ductwork.
— If you have
pets in the home that shed fur and dander. Duct cleaning and effective
home cleaning practices can help to prevent it from spreading
throughout the home.
warn homeowners to avoid air duct cleaning scams and stay away from
excessively cheap specials that seem too good to be true.
want to go with the ‘$49 bandits,’" Mack says. "These
are less reputable contractors who will use the very, very low price
to get into your house and then keep piling on the extra
points in mind when hiring an air duct cleaning company:
— A good duct
cleaning costs between $400 and $1,000 and addresses every aspect of
the system that air passes over, including the furnace, air coils and
central system. Good cleaners will use negative air machines with HEPA
— It should
take a few hours. An air duct cleaner who’s in and out in less than
an hour probably didn’t do a good job.
— Many quality
ductwork cleaners use truck-mounted, outside vacuum systems that
contain dust and debris outside the house.
— Ask whether
they follow the standards set by the National Air Duct Cleaners