Air Duct Cleaning: Scam or Worth It?

Like many homeowners, you’ve probably been advised to schedule routine air duct cleaning to ensure a sufficiently high quality of indoor air. Sadly, however, nearly all research conducted on the benefits of duct cleaning have concluded that these treatments do not have any significant impact on indoor air quality (IAQ) in most cases.

If you’ve been paying for regular air duct cleaning services, you probably haven’t been getting the benefits that you expect. The following are several ways to determine whether or not this form of maintenance is actually worthwhile for your household.

Why Has Air Duct Cleaning Been Recommended for Your Property?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), unless your home has a special circumstance, there’s no real need to have air duct cleaning performed, and no real benefits to gain from it. Paying for professionals to clean out your air ducts isn’t going to dramatically boost your home’s IAQ, nor will it supplement the equipment-related benefits of other forms of HVAC maintenance.

If an HVAC installation and maintenance service has recommended these services as part of your normal maintenance, you’re likely being scammed. The best way to know for certain is to ask why duct cleaning might be needed in your home. Knowledgeable industry professionals should be able to give you a clear reason for needing these treatments apart from it being an essential part of regular, ongoing maintenance.

When Is Air Duct Cleaning Essential?

The only time when air duct cleaning is something that’s both beneficial and essential is when foreign objects have been introduced into the ductwork. Keep in mind that these foreign objects do not include normal airborne particulates such as dust, dirt, or dander. These are all things that a quality air filter can eliminate all on its own.

However, if you’ve recently removed a living or dead rodent from your air ducts or you have an aggressive termite infestation, cleaning out the interior of the ducts may be necessary for eliminating potentially harmful leavings.

Who Advised You to Have Your Air Ducts Cleaned?

Many of the factors that urge the need for duct cleaning will often be identified by companies or professionals who work outside of the HVAC industry. For instance, air duct cleaning might be recommended by a:

  • Mold remediation service
  • Pest control service
  • Medical professional
  • Home renovation company

In these instances, recommendations for air duct cleaning are usually trustworthy and well-worth following. Mold clean-up and remediation companies can tell when the development and spread of mold spores has significantly impacted air distribution systems.

Pest control companies frequently recommend these services after the removal of dead or dying animals, or after addressing living infestations within a home’s ductwork. Excess dust, asbestos abatement, and other renovation processes or byproducts of construction might prompt home remodelers to suggest thorough duct-cleaning for assured resident safety.

When medical professionals recommend duct cleaning, it’s generally after all other air quality control measures have been employed. These include cleaning the air registers and air handler, thoroughly cleaning all carpeting and upholstery, and making various lifestyle changes.

For households with individuals who’ve been diagnosed with chronic respiratory ailments, air duct cleaning services can sometimes be a very necessary part of routine home maintenance. This is especially true in a consistently dusty living environment, in households with pets, and in homes that are prone to recurring problems with mold or mildew development.

Cleaning out your air ducts might seem like a great way to improve your home’s IAQ and extend the lifespan of your home heating and cooling equipment. However, unless you’ve had pest problems in your ductwork, recently remodeled, are dealing with pervasive mold, or live with a chronic respiratory ailment, these services are likely unnecessary. In the average, problem-free household, there are no known benefits to making these treatments a regular part of routine HVAC maintenance.