Is Air Duct Cleaning a Waste of Money?
With so many scams on air duct cleaning services, it can be nerve-wracking to look for a contractor and wonder whether or not they’ll do a good job. The ad looks promising, but they have a few reviews from customers who are outraged about their experiences. So the question of whether or not air duct cleaning is a waste of money is important to address.
Air Duct Cleaning Services: What to Know
It’s important to know that an air duct cleaning service is designed to maintain the HVAC system with the promise of providing cleaner air and reduced energy costs. But is it really air duct cleaning that provides these solutions? Here’s how to determine whether or not your system needs to be cleaned.
Determining Whether or Not to Clean the System
You should know that there’s no evidence that supports the idea of air duct cleaning improving health issues or making your HVAC system more efficient.
On the other hand, it has been known that dirty air duct parts, including the air handling units, cooling coils, and motor can make your HVAC system work harder.
So from here, it’s import to check your air ducts for issues and solutions that can help the HVAC unit run more efficiently.
Air Duct Cleaning: What to Consider
There are two major concerns that may contribute to a decision of whether or not to get an air duct cleaning: large obstructions and/or a lot of dust. You should also know that air can flow a lot more easily through your duct without these obstructions.
Any severe blockage within your air ducts will also result in higher energy costs in the long run. Specific warning signs to look out for include:
- Mold infestation: If you find mold or notice a musty smell from your air ducts, call in an HVAC technician to inspect your HVAC system. The presence of mold is always the result of trapped moisture which can critically damage your air ducts. All mold spores should be removed by a mold remediation professional.
- Rodent droppings and dead bugs: If you notice any dead bugs or rodent droppings in your ducts, its definitely time to get them cleaned. For your own health and safety, you don’t want to breathe in that bacteria. This is also a sign of an infestation that insects or rodents have nested within the walls or floors of your home.
- Severe allergies: While there are no critical health issues directly linked to an HVAC system, dirty air ducts are likely to be pushing dirt and debris into breathing air. Especially during the spring, summer and fall, allergies will always flair up and make life miserable.
- Duct Obstruction: If there are large amounts of dirt and debris within your air ducts, it’s definitely time to call in a cleaning professional.
Are Air Duct Cleanings Worth It?
If there are significant amounts of dirt or debris within your air ducts, there may be issues other than your system’s efficiency. For example, if the air filter is clogged, the HVAC system will most likely work harder to maintain the home or building’s optimal temperature.
Generally, air duct cleanings are not worth it unless the ducts are full of rodent debris, mold, or large amounts of debris. As they cost anywhere from $300 – $500, there are some DIY system checks as well as general maintenance tasks you can schedule for your HVAC system.
Benefits of HVAC Cleaning
All dirty HVAC systems must be inspected by a licensed, trusted HVAC professional. There are also benefits in removing debris from your air duct system, such as good indoor air quality.
There have been a growing number of concerns about indoor air quality as many home and business owners are worried about the air they are breathing. But unless they are breathing in dirty or heavily polluted air, there is no reason to clean them frequently. The EPA also recommends to only clean them if they are contaminated.
How to Get an Efficient HVAC System
Simply clearing away all major obstructions and addressing other issues will certainly make your HVAC system more efficient. To do this, be sure to take the following steps.
- Inspect and change the furnace filter on a regular basis
- Schedule an HVAC tune-up on a regular basis
- Ensure the home or building is reaching optimal temperatures
Maintain Your HVAC System
In addition to having a clean HVAC system, it’s important to ensure it works correctly. Poor air flow is the biggest contributor to energy efficiency, so you’ll want to make sure the system is well maintained.
Common issues such as improperly sealed and/or installed air ducts will require a lot of cleaning, so having the proper maintenance can alleviate some of these needs. Just be sure to hire a licensed, reputable maintenance contractor.
Lastly, don’t forget to change your air filter according to the system’s manufacturer’s recommendation. Some systems are even set up to notify home and business owners through their phones.
Professional Air Duct Cleaning
If you have found any of the warning signs listed above, such as rodent droppings, dead bugs, large amounts of dust, debris or even mold, don’t hesitate to contact your local air duct cleaning service. It’s important to contact a professional who is trained and experienced in cleaning all parts of an HVAC system, not just the ducts.
During air duct cleaning services, all of the following should be cleaned:
- Heat registers
- Heating and cooling coils
- All supply and return registers
- Drip pans
- Air handling and unit housing
- Air ducts
Remember, it’s normal for air ducts to accumulate dirt and debris over time, just not all the time. If you notice large amounts of debris in your system more often than not, consider working with a HVAC technician to diagnose and fix the issue.