Residential Duct Cleaning Frequently Asked Questions
Are there any health benefits that come from HVAC system cleaning?
Poorly maintained HVAC systems harbor mold, fungi, bacteria, pollen, dust mites and other disease-carrying biological pollutants which are re-circulated through forced-air systems. Given the right conditions of moisture and temperature, these contaminants can flourish in the ductwork and be emitted with the air flow through the air ducts into the home. The removal of such contaminants from the HVAC system improves the quality of the air you breath which is especially important to those with allergies and other respiratory issues.
Will HVAC system cleaning reduce our home energy bills?
Yes. According to the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA), cleaning lightly soiled systems and changing the filters can result in energy savings of 11% and up to 30% for heavily soiled systems. Additionally, research by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) demonstrates that HVAC systems run more efficiently by removing debris from sensitive mechanical components. Clean, efficient systems are less likely to break down, have a longer life span, and generally operate more effectively than dirty systems.
How should a residential HVAC system be cleaned?
The most effective way to clean air ducts and ventilation systems is to employ Source Removal methods of cleaning. This requires a contractor to place the HVAC system under negative pressure by using a specialized, powerful vacuum. While the vacuum draws air through the system, brushes are inserted into the ducts to dislodge dirt and debris which have adhered to interior surfaces. The unstuck dirt and debris travel down the ducts into the vacuum, out of the system and the home.
What kind of equipment is best for cleaning?
Portable equipment can be brought into a home, allowing the vacuum source to be located closer to the ductwork. All vacuum units should be attached to a collection device for safe containment prior to disposal. Any vacuum collection device which exhausts indoors must be HEPA (high efficiency particulate arrestance) filtered. A vacuum collection device alone will not clean an HVAC system. Proper cleaning also requires methods and tools designed to brush and dislodge dirt and debris which have adhered to the surfaces within the system. These and other contaminants are then vacuumed out of the system into the collection devices.
How often should residential HVAC systems be cleaned?
Frequency of cleaning depends on several factors in the home, such as:
- Pets shedding high amounts of fur and dander
- Water contamination or damage to the home or HVAC system
- Residents with allergies or asthma who could benefit from a reduction in the amount of indoor air pollutants in the home’s HVAC system
- Any recent home renovations or remodeling
What is the normal price range for the air duct cleaning service?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA, “Duct cleaning services typically – but not always – range in cost from $450 to $1,000 per heating and cooling system depending on the services offered, the size of the system, system accessibility, climactic region, level of contamination and type of duct material.” Consumers should be wary of “blow-and-go” air duct cleaning companies which typically charge a nominal fee but do a poor job of cleaning the heating and cooling system. These companies may also persuade consumers into unneeded services.
Why should I choose a NADCA member to have my air ducts cleaned?
NADCA Members sign a Code of Ethics agreeing to protect the consumer and to follow NADCA Standards. To be admitted to NADCA, the air duct cleaning company must meet specific stringent requirements, such as employing certified Air System Cleaning Specialists (ASCS). An ASCS must pass the NADCA Certification Examination demonstrating extensive knowledge in HVAC design and cleaning methodologies. They are also required to further their industry education by attending seminars in order to maintain their NADCA certification status.
Are sanitizers necessary?
Sanitizers or anti-microbial chemicals are important to apply to the interior surface of the air ducts in order to control microbial contamination. Before any sanitizers are used, the system should be thoroughly cleaned. It is critical that any anti-microbial treatment used in your system be EPA-registered for the intended use in HVAC systems. Ask to see the chemical’s Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS).
What criteria should I use in selecting an HVAC system cleaner?
Be sure the company has been in business long enough to have adequate experience.
Get proof the company is properly licensed and adequately insured.
Verify that the company is certified by NADCA to perform HVAC system cleaning.
Make sure the company will clean and visually inspect all of the air ducts and related system components.
Avoid advertisements for “$99 whole house specials” and other sales gimmicks.
Ask if the company has the proper equipment to effectively perform cleaning, and if it has done work in homes similar to yours. Get references, if possible.
How long should it take to clean a typical residential HVAC system?
The amount of time it takes to clean a residential HVAC system depends on many variables, such as the size of the home, the number of systems, the extent of the contamination and the number of HVAC cleaners performing the job.