At Air Plus, we’ve offered air duct cleaning for many years and when one of our team members mention it to customers, there are always one of two reactions…
- The flat assertion that Duct Cleaning is a scam and we are full of … “hot air…” or
- That duct cleaning is the most amazing tool ever and will make you and your family healthy and your HVAC system last forever.
As is usually the case in these scenarios, the truth is somewhere in between the two.
Let’s take a step back and review what exactly duct cleaning entails – it is the mechanical cleaning of all the ductwork in your home to remove dust, debris, potential blockages, and, in worst-case scenarios, even mold within the ductwork.
It’s intriguing to take a deeper look into the benefits of these actions, though, because some companies have overstated the health benefits of duct cleaning. Simply put, simply cleaning the ducts in your home will not make you healthy.
On the other hand, cleaning out your ductwork can be a critical step in making your home healthier – especially if you are a new owner and are unsure of the overall maintenance history of the HVAC system. Many owners simply don’t change the air filters in their home regularly and the ductwork can get extremely dirty – and that dirt can find its way into your HVAC system and eventually damage the components of that system.
At the same time, cleaning out the ducts in your home can limit the amount of dust and dander that is actively moving in the air in your home and allow you to have a great “starting point” for enjoying better air quality in the house.
It might be easiest to think of it like this: if you are able to remove a substantial amount of material (dust and debris) from the ductwork, then the correct volume of air can flow through that ductwork. This keeps the system working in the balance that it was initially designed to do while eliminating the potential for pieces of this material to fall into the moving components of your HVAC unit and cause challenges. Less buildup on moving parts means that they can move easier and will be able to operate more efficiently.
The key takeaways from duct cleaning?
It is likely that it will allow your HVAC system to be operated at a lower cost, with less maintenance. As a result of removing potential dust and dander from your system, it can also foster cleaner air inside the home – especially given the nature of pollens, dust, and outside contaminants that we see here in southern California.
So when should you consider cleaning the ducts in your home? We’ve already stated that anyone buying an existing home would be wise to get those ducts clean, if only to establish a stable baseline of HVAC efficiency, but here are four other critical “red flags” we see where duct cleaning is warranted:
- Insect “parts” and rodent droppings. Gross? Of course it is! If you see tiny pieces of dead bugs drifting down from the vents when your system is on or a stray mouse dropping shoots out of the duct one day, there’s a great chance that not only do you have a hole in your ducts, but your ducts are filthy and cleaning them out – and fixing the problem (with an exterminator and Air Plus) can eliminate that contaminant.
- Mold Growth. Anytime you have a musty or moldy smell from your HVAC system – especially here in the relatively dry southern California climate we enjoy, it’s a great idea to have Air Plus come out and inspect your ducts. Mold development is caused because of trapped moisture and could be very damaging to your overall HVAC system. Since we live in a very dry climate that usually retards mold growth, this can be a very serious issue and needs to be addressed quickly.
- Duct Obstructions are usually uncovered as a result of significant amounts of dust or debris clogging and then breaking loss in the ducts and then getting “spit out” of the vents. If you see this, you can bet that you have some issues in the ducts and it may be a sign that it is time to consider a thorough air duct cleaning.
- Unexplained Allergies or illnesses could be directly linked to issues in your ducts. If someone in your family is suffering from an allergy-related illness, and you’ve taken every other precaution and step to decontaminate your home, you may want to think about having your ducts cleaned.
In all these circumstances, the good news is that cleaning the ducts in your home will result in a system that operates more efficiently. How much more? That depends on a variety of circumstances, but all of our clients report some decrease in operating costs. As with any type of maintenance, following “best practices” after your ducts are cleaned is always a great idea – change your filters regularly, make sure your thermostat is working properly, and keep your system tuned up.
We are always happy to discuss the particulars of any type of maintenance in an HVAC system with our potential clients and we invite you to reach out to us here to find out more about having your ductwork cleaned.