Whether you’ve recently purchased a home or simply remodeled, you’ve likely heard a lot about your air ducts and maintaining them. But what does air duct cleaning for your home actually entail? What areas should be cleaned, and how often should they be cleaned?
In this blog, we review common questions about cleaning the air ducts in your home.
Who Cleans Out Air Ducts?
Due to the complexities of most HVAC airflow systems, you don’t want just anyone cleaning out your air ducts. Just like you wouldn’t want someone without certifications and experience working on your car, you need to have a trained and certified technician working on your air ducts.
Do you Need a License to Clean Air Ducts?
The need for a license to clean air ducts depends on the state you live in. For states that do require licensing, an HVAC license is usually required.
Regardless if your state requires licensing or not, you want your home serviced by a company that is certified by the National Air Ducts Cleaners Association. NADCA holds its members to a stringent cleaning code. By hiring a NADCA-certified professional, you can have confidence your air ducts are being cleaned the right way.
How Much Does Air Duct Cleaning Cost?
The price of air duct cleaning depends on the size of your home and the complexity of your ducting. For the average home, you can expect to pay at least $400-500.
If someone offers to clean your ducts for less than that, be careful. Since your air ducts aren’t readily visible, it’s easy for budget cleaners to skip steps without you noticing or charge you for services you don’t need.
A tell-tale sign of a technician who’s taking shortcuts is one who takes less than 2 hours to get the job done. A lot goes into proper air duct cleaning. Technicians taking less than 2 hours have almost certainly skipped a few steps.
Fortunately, you can usually request a free estimate and ask your service technician what they plan to clean within the quote they provide.
How Long Does It Take to Clean Air Ducts?
As mentioned above, a quick clean is not a thorough clean. It takes at least 2 technicians working at least 2 hours to get the job done. Realistically, though, you can expect a proper cleaning job to last 4-8 hours.
This is because so much goes into cleaning your ducts. If someone offers to clean your AC ducts “fast and cheap,” this is almost certainly a sign they are taking shortcuts and not actually cleaning your system.
How Does Air Duct Cleaning Work?
Air duct cleaning works through a series of pushing and pulling air through vacuums and air compressors in conjunction with “air whips,” which whip the dust from air duct surfaces and push them to an exit where the dust is collected.
In addition, your air duct cleaning technician may need to cut into your ducts to access certain areas to clean. This is another reason why it’s so important to have a professional technician perform this service for you.
Can Air Duct Cleaning Cause Damage?
If the person doing your air duct cleaning isn’t a certified professional, you risk damage to your system. As mentioned above, sometimes cleaning air ducts requires cutting into the ducts to access areas to clean. An inexperienced technician may make excess cuts or improperly patch them.
In addition, if the right tools aren’t being used, damage can occur when excessive force is applied to the ductwork. This is especially true for flex duct and interior fiberglass lining which are more fragile parts of your air flow system.
How Do You Know If Your Air Ducts Need to be Cleaned?
The easiest way to determine if it’s time to clean your ducts is through sensual cues. Looking at your HVAC system and vents, if you see a build-up of dust on the outside, that’s indicative of a buildup of dust on the inside.
Additionally, perpetual smells could be an indication of bacterial buildup within the vents like mold. Likewise, a smell of smoke indicates that soot is present in the ductwork.
Ideally, being on a regular cleaning schedule will ensure your ducts never reach that point.
How Often Should You Clean Your Air Ducts?
For starters, you should have your air ducts inspected every 2 years. As mentioned before, you can usually have a service technician do this for free. Upon inspection, they’ll be able to determine whether it’s time for servicing or not.
On average, air ducts need to be cleaned every 3-5 years. Depending on the number of people living in your home (including pets), you’ll need to service your system based on use. The higher the occupancy, the more frequent the maintenance.
Additionally, when certain events happen in your home that put excess strain on your HVAC system – e.g., remodeling, a mold outbreak, a fire, etc. – you may need more immediate servicing.
Residential Air Duct Cleaning from Service-Tech
Based on what you read, it’s likely you’ve determined that it’s at least time for your air ducts to be inspected. At Service-Tech, we provide free estimates and inspections for our residential customers.
And since our processes and technicians are NADCA-certified, you can be confident that you’re getting honest, transparent, and professional service.
Additionally, if you have any other questions about air duct cleaning and maintenance, feel free to contact us or check out our other blogs.