The air ducts in your home have an important job, moving air throughout your house via your heating or cooling system. Over time, it’s possible that air ducts will become dirty or contaminated with mold and dust. If people in your family have environmental sensitivities, they may have health issues connected with dirty air ducts.
Visit the Environmental Protection Agency website for a comprehensive discussion about the purpose and benefits of cleaning your air ducts. Although the EPA doesn’t specifically recommend air duct cleaning, you will learn important information that will help you decide whether you need to have yours cleaned.
Once you’re ready to proceed, learn five tips for air duct cleaning to make sure that you proceed correctly with the cleaning project.
1. Assess For Mold
Mold develops in areas where moisture accumulates with inadequate ventilation. If mold develops inside your air ducts, it can create an unhealthy indoor environment because as air travels through the ducts, mold spores will release into this air and enter your living areas. If mold develops, it will appear inside the hard surfaces of the air ducts or on other areas of a heating and cooling system. While you may be able to see areas that appear to have mold, the only way to ascertain definitively that you have mold is to conduct a laboratory analysis of a sample from your air ducts. Lacking this sample, you won’t know for sure whether you have a mold issue.
If insulated air ducts develop mold with moist and moldy insulation, the best course of action is to remove the damaged insulation and replace it.
2. Check For Clogs And Debris
It’s also possible for clogs to accumulate in air ducts from debris and even from rodents and insects. If this happens to an extreme degree, you might even notice particles releasing into the air from the air ducts. The danger from these particles blowing into your home comes from possible mold and mildew that might develop from decaying organic matter.
3. Get A Cleaning Estimate
Because the air duct system is likely extensive, traveling through areas of your home that may be difficult to access, it’s usually a good idea to hire a professional air duct cleaner. Supervise the estimate process so you see how the representative examines your ducts to arrive at the estimate. If the representative suggests that mold exists in your ducts, insist on laboratory analysis to confirm before proceeding with mold removal.
4. EPA Recommendations
Understand that if you are cleaning out existing mold or replacing moldy insulation, part of the repair process has to include remedying the environment that enabled mold to develop in the first place. If you don’t fix these issues, more mold will develop.
5. Choose A Professional
Research any companies that you consider hiring for air duct cleaning. Get references or testimonials from satisfied customers. Check the Better Business Bureau to see if other customers have registered complaints about the company. Get an estimate before you hire anybody and make sure you have a contract for service that includes price and services provided, as well as any service guarantees.
While clean air ducts won’t necessarily guarantee more efficient heating and cooling or the longer life of your HVAC unit, occasional cleaning usually makes sense.