Q: I recently bought my first home and my real estate agent suggested I have the heating and air ducts cleaned to remove dust and hair from the system. Is It Really Necessary? If sewer cleaning is important, how often should I have it done?
ONE: Your home’s HVAC system uses metal ducts to route warm or cool air from the stove or air conditioner throughout your home. Dirt, dust, hair, and other debris can build up on the inside of these ducts, but that doesn’t mean you need to have the ducts cleaned regularly. Small amounts of dirt do not affect the quality of the air in the home and HVAC ducts do not need to be cleaned frequently. However, there are times when cleaning is required, for example if there is visible mold, infestation or excessive dust and dirt escaping from the ventilation openings.
A small amount of house dust, dirt and debris pose no threat to your health.
A common claim made by some HVAC companies is that the HVAC ducts in a home should be cleaned at least every three to five years to ensure that hair, dust, and debris do not affect the air quality in the home and cause health problems. However, the EPA takes a different stance and notes that cleaning canals has not been shown to prevent health problems. In addition, studies of the effects of sewer cleaning inconclusive shows that the presence of dust and dirt in the sewers increases the concentration of particles in the home.
With this in mind, there is no reason to believe that a small amount of house dust, dirt, and debris in the ducts could harm people in the house. In fact, cleaning the ducts regularly can actually stir up dust and increase the concentration of particles in the house beyond what they would have been if you had just lived with the ducts that are lightly soiled.
Consider having the ducts cleaned if there is visible mold growth in the HVAC system.
While duct cleaning is not required if there is a slight amount of dust, hair, and other debris, there are certain times when duct cleaning is the best practice. HVAC ducts carry hot and cold air from the stove and air conditioner to the rest of the house. The different temperatures inside and outside the ducts can cause moisture to build up in the vents, creating an ideal environment for mold and mildew to grow.
Mold and mold can be detrimental to your health. So if there is visible mold growth in the HVAC system, it is time to call an HVAC company to have the vents cleaned before the mold and mold spores can spread to the rest of the house.
Pay attention to the ducts as soon as possible if they are infested with rodents or insects.
A build-up of moisture in the HVAC system not only creates a great environment for mold and mildew, but is also attractive to rodents and insects, which can quickly spread throughout the house via the interconnected ducts. Some of these pests, like mice and rats, can seriously affect the infrastructure of the home, while others, including cockroaches, ants, fleas, and bed bugs, annoy people and, in some cases, transmit diseases that infect.
Any sign of rodents or insects in the HVAC system is an indication that the ducts require professional cleaning. You may also consider hiring an exterminator to make sure the infestation is completely removed from the house.
The ducts need cleaning if excessive dust and dirt enters the house through the registers.
As mentioned earlier, dirt, dust, and hair regularly pass through the HVAC system and can build up on the sides of the ducts. In small amounts, these deposits do no harm and there is no evidence that they affect the quality of the air in the home. However, in large quantities, dust and dirt can pose a threat to air quality. It is therefore important to regularly check the vents and have the ducts cleaned if excessive debris is blown into the home through the vents. Also, consider having the ducts cleaned if a musty smell arises when you turn on the stove.
Generally, you will have the ducts cleaned when necessary, but frequent duct cleaning is not required.
Most HVAC companies specify a specific frequency or schedule for cleaning the ducts, but regular HVAC cleaning is not required to maintain the health and air quality of the home. The air quality in the house is not affected by the air flowing through slightly polluted ducts. Just be sure to have the ducts cleaned if there is visible mold, signs of pests, or excessive dust and debris being blown into the rooms.
However, those with sensitive airways or severe allergies should consider having the ducts cleaned more frequently to reduce dust and dirt build-up before they become excessive. It should also be noted that sharing your home with pets who have dandruff will increase the amount of dust, dirt, and hair in the vents, making the ducts to be cleaned more often.