Most homeowners know how important their HVAC system is to the home. It is the very thing that provides you with comfortable levels of temperature in the home. And, this is why homeowners are perfectly complacent with keeping their system maintained.

Unfortunately, it is not the system alone doing all the work. While the ductwork is just as equally important, it is oftentimes overlooked when it comes to maintenance. People either don’t know about duct cleanings or they just simply shrug them off as a scam. So, what’s the truth? Yes, your ducts will get dusty over time, but this is something that is completely normal.

Why You Might Want To Skip Out On A Duct Cleaning

Would you be surprised to learn that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) just released a statement saying that duct cleanings are not recommended on an as-needed basis because the benefits aren’t really clear? The agency also stated that there has never been any real proof showing to a duct cleaning can prevent health problems. It has also never been proven that if dirty ducts actually contribute to the levels of dust in the home. So, if your ducts are dirty aren’t they spewing dust into the air that you are breathing? No, most of the dirt of dust in ducts will adhere to the duct surface and does not necessarily enter the home.

This doesn’t mean that duct cleaning all around is a bad idea. It just means that duct cleaning simply isn’t necessary. When a duct cleaning is properly performed by a group of professional duct cleaners it can provide some homeowners with very limited benefits.

For instance, if there are visible signs of mold growth in the duct a duct cleaning might be handy. If there is a rat, mouse, or other vermin infestation in the duct a duct cleaning might prove useful.

How A Duct Cleaning Works

A duct cleaning is not something that a DIY homeowner can do on their own because it requires specialized tools and equipment. These tools and equipment where be used to agitate and dislodge dirt and debris in the duct where it will become airborne and vacuumed out.

Most of the time the techs will come out to the home, tap into the ducts with a high-powered HEPA vacuum cleaner, and block off the vents inside the home. The HEPA vacuum will be attached somewhere near the HVAC system itself.

This basically puts the duct system into a negative pressure state and the blocking off of the vents only increases the negative pressure. Once the system is in negative pressure the techs will use air tools and brushes to knock loose contaminants, debris, and dust.

Once these items are airborne this high-powered vacuum will suck them up. The tech will go from vent to vent blasting them with air tools and brushes. This process will be performed on both the supply and return side of the system and that is basically the gist of the duct cleaning process.

What You Should Know If You Are Going To Have Your Ducts Cleaned

If you are going to go that extra mile and have your ducts cleaned there are several things that you need to know beforehand. First, you need to know that not every heating and air contractor out there is created equally.

Some contractors are more setup for installing and servicing systems rather than cleaning them. In fact, there are some heating and air contractors that only offer duct cleanings alone. Whichever company you go with, you want to make sure that you are choosing one that is qualified.

Look for a company that is certified by the National Air Duct Cleaning Association (NADCA). This will greatly increase your chances of getting a qualified company.

You also need to be wary of companies that are offering rock-bottom prices. If you get a flyer in the mail that says a company is offering a $79.99 duct cleaning special, you probably want to start looking somewhere else immediately. When dealing with companies like there you are either going to get a shoddy job or be hit with a bunch of tacked-on charges.

Duct Cleaning And HVAC Unit Cleaning

Now, just because a duct cleaning isn’t necessary unless the system is contaminated it does not mean that you should forego your bi-annual tune-up. An HVAC unit is much different than the ductwork and operates on a different premise.

For instance, the HVAC unit uses what is known as the condenser coil and evaporator coil to deliver warm and cold air to the home. These coils along with the blower are crucial components and need to be tended to on a regular basis. If a coil does get excessive build-up it is going to cause the system to operate ineffectively.

It eventually might even lead to a breakdown or a burned out compressor. A tune-up will also check for holes in the heat exchanger, which could lead to carbon monoxide poison. In addition to this, the tune-up will involve the cleaning of drains and drains pans.

What Does A Duct Cleaning Actually Clean?

You learned above about the general process of how duct cleaning works. However, that section really did not cover everything that is involved in duct cleaning. When the techs arrive at the home, you should expect them to clean the main supply side of the ductwork, the return side of the ductwork, and they should seal any openings that they made in the system.

In addition to this, they should clean the supply registers, return grilles, the coils of the HVAC unit, the blower wheel, the evaporator coil drain pan, and the techs should also change any filters.

An Improper Duct Cleaning Could Harm The Home

Any time you are thinking about hiring a duct cleaning company you have to be extremely careful because a less than professional job could actually be worse for you and your home. If the system is not properly resealed it will lead to air leaks and higher energy consumption. If all the dust and dirt are not properly removed it will now be airborne and blown into the home.

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