“How Often Should My Air Ducts Be Cleaned?” [FAQ]

October 31, 2013

Your home’s air ducts only need to be cleaned on an as-needed basis, according to the Environmental Protection Association (EPA). There is no, “You need to get them cleaned every # years” rule-of-thumb. 
 
So when is air duct cleaning needed? And if they do need cleaning, who should you trust to clean them? We’ll discuss all of that in this article

3 signs your air ducts desperately need cleaning

Here are 3 simple signs air duct cleaning is absolutely needed, according to the EPA

1. “There is substantial visible mold growth inside hard surface (e.g., sheet metal) ducts or on other components of your heating and cooling system.”
 
2. “Ducts are infested with vermin, e.g. (rodents or insects).” 
 
3. “Ducts are clogged with excessive amounts of dust and debris and/or particles are actually released into the home from your supply registers.”
 
Other than these 3 reasons, there’s no reason to get your ducts cleaned. However, if your home does have dirty ducts, you’ve got more problems than you realize.

Why dirty ducts is a symptom of a bigger problem

If your ducts need cleaning (they match one of the 3 symptoms above), it wasn’t caused by time alone. Dirty ducts are a symptom of a bigger problem...or problems. Cut off the source of the problem and your ducts won’t need cleaning. 

Follow these guidelines to keep your air ducts clean:

  • Find and seal leaky air ducts (leaky return ducts in your attic can suck in excessive amounts of dust and push them throughout your home).
  • Change your air filter when it’s dirty so dirt does not build up in your heating and cooling system.
  • Use higher efficiency air filters to capture smaller particles like bacteria.
  • Get annual air conditioning and furnace maintenance. Make sure you ask the contractor to clean the A/C’s cooling (inside) coils and check the condensate drain line—these places are where mold and fungi can easily grow.
  • Dust and vacuum your home frequently.
  • Keep moisture out of the ducts to prevent mold growth.

How to choose a reputable air duct cleaner

When hiring a duct cleaner, make sure they follow the strict standards set by the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA). The NADCA has several resources you can look at to learn more about duct cleaning in general. 

Be cautious about the method a contractor uses to clean your ducts. Some want to spray chemical biocides inside your ducts. But the EPA warns that this can hurt more than help by aggravating respiratory symptoms of asthma and allergy sufferers. 
 
A safer way to clean air ducts is with the air sweep method: a compressed-air hose connected to a truck-mounted vacuum system is fed into your ducts and carries away the dust and debris lodged in your ducts. 
 
Have any questions about air duct cleaning? Feel free to ask one of our experts for help.
 
Santa Fe Air Conditioning and Heating serves the Kansas City area. For more information, contact us online