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Breathe Easy: Professional Air Duct Cleaning Explained

Posted January 21, 2023 by Mike Lewis under Tips

Breathe Easy: Professional Air Duct Cleaning Explained

What is Air Duct Cleaning?

Air duct cleaning is the process of removing dust, debris, mold, pollen, and other contaminants from the air ducts in your home’s HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system. As air flows through your home’s ductwork, it can pick up these pollutants and circulate them throughout your house. Over time, they can build up and get blown back into the air you breathe. Professional air duct cleaning removes these contaminants, helps improve indoor air quality, and allows your HVAC system to operate more efficiently.

Why Get Your Air Ducts Cleaned?

There are several benefits to having your air ducts professionally cleaned:

Improved Indoor Air Quality

Removing built-up debris, dust, and mold improves the quality of air circulating through your home. This can help reduce allergens and provide relief for those suffering from asthma, allergies, and respiratory issues. Cleaner air ducts mean cleaner air for you and your family to breathe.

Enhanced HVAC Efficiency

When air ducts are coated in contaminants, it can restrict airflow and force your HVAC system to work harder to heat and cool your home. Professional cleaning removes blockages and allows air to flow freely through the ductwork. This makes your HVAC system more efficient and can help lower energy bills.

Prevent Mold Growth

Dust and dirt provide food for mold spores to grow inside your air ducts. Professional cleanings sanitize your ductwork and remove these contaminants before mold has a chance to spread into your living areas. This helps maintain healthy indoor air quality.

Reduce Dust Buildup

Clean air ducts circulate cleaner air through your home. This means less dust kicked back up and resettled on surfaces in your living areas. Professional cleanings can help keep your home looking cleaner longer.

How Often Should Air Ducts Be Cleaned?

Most experts recommend getting your air ducts professionally cleaned every 3-5 years. However, there are some situations that may require more frequent cleanings:

  • Homes with pets – Pet dander and hair can quickly accumulate in ductwork. Annual cleanings are ideal for pet owners.

  • Recent home renovations – Drywall dust and debris can get sucked into your HVAC system during remodeling projects. It’s best to clean your ducts after any major renovations.

  • Heavy traffic homes – Homes with high foot traffic from family members and guests may need cleanings every 2-3 years.

  • Presence of mold, mildew, or pests – If you already see contaminants in your ductwork, get them cleaned right away and schedule annual cleanings going forward.

  • New homeowners – It’s smart to get your ducts cleaned when you first move into a new home. You don’t know the condition of the previous homeowners’ ductwork.

No matter what, it’s generally recommended to clean your ducts at least once every 5 years. Consult with a professional to determine the right cleaning frequency for your specific home and family.

What Does a Professional Air Duct Cleaning Service Do?

A professional air duct cleaning service will:

  • Inspect your ductwork using specialized cameras to locate trouble areas with high levels of contaminants.

  • Vacuum out dust, debris, and dirt using powerful HEPA-filtered vacuum trucks. The trucks are connected to your ducts via hoses fed throughout your home.

  • Brush and agitate air duct surfaces to dislodge stubborn contaminants. Some companies may use compressed air for this step.

  • Sanitize the ductwork using EPA-approved, non-toxic disinfectants to kill mold, bacteria, and other allergens.

  • Seal exposed ducts to prevent future buildup.

  • Deodorize to leave your ducts smelling fresh.

  • Check your dryer vent and clean if needed.

Reputable companies use specialized tools, powerful vacuum systems, and protective equipment to safely and effectively clean your entire ductwork system. The best companies will also take steps to contain dust and debris during the cleaning process.

What to Look for in an Air Duct Cleaning Company

When hiring an air duct cleaning service, look for:

  • NADCA membership – Companies that are members of the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) follow strict industry standards and proper cleaning procedures.

  • Experienced technicians – Look for companies with extensively trained and certified technicians. They should have several years of experience specifically with air duct cleaning.

  • Proper equipment – Trusted companies use commercial-grade vacuum systems and tools designed specifically for HVAC cleaning. Equipment should exceed NADCA standards.

  • Containment process – The company should seal off and contain dust and debris during the cleaning process. This minimizes the spread of contaminants in your home.

  • Guarantees – Many companies offer satisfaction guarantees in case you aren’t pleased with the cleaning results.

  • Safety certifications – Make sure the company carries proper licenses, bonding, and insurance for your protection.

When comparing services, be wary of deals that seem too good to be true. Quality professional cleanings may cost more than cheap offers from less qualified outfits.

Air Duct Cleaning Safety Tips

  • Research companies thoroughly and ask lots of questions before hiring. Don’t just go with the lowest bidder.

  • Make sure the company will fully explain the process and contain dust and debris. Avoid companies that say containment isn’t necessary.

  • Get references from past clients if possible. Read reviews on Google, Yelp, and the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

  • Confirm upfront pricing in writing to avoid surprise fees. Never pay the full amount until the job is complete.

  • Do not run your HVAC system during cleaning to avoid spreading contaminants. Turn it back on only after containment is removed.

  • Change out air filters after cleaning. Disposable pleated filters trap remaining loose dust.

Regular professional cleanings along with good filters will keep your ductwork clear and your indoor air fresh and healthy. Contact a qualified NADCA member company today to schedule your next duct cleaning. Breathe easier knowing your home’s air is contaminant free.

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