​​​​How Often Should You Clean Air Ducts?

As we move around our homes every day, we might not realize the potential for dirt sitting in our HVAC system air ducts. All types of dirt ranging from dust, microbes, mold spores, and even mites can cling to the air duct, making it essential to clean. The question is, how often should you clean your air ducts?

Frequency of Air Duct Cleaning

You don’t have to follow a scheduled time for cleaning your air ducts. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states it’s not recommended to routinely clean the air ducts but only when necessary.

So when should air ducts be cleaned? You can clean your air duct when you spot the following conditions:

  • There is visible mold in the HVAC system or ducts.
  • You can see dirt in the HVAC system.
  • You notice rodents or insects on your property.
  • When residents are struggling with persistent allergies or illnesses.

Just like EPA, the National AirDuct Cleaners Association (NADCA) mentions that cleaning air ducts must be done as needed. Still, they also advise that air ducts should be inspected regularly to determine their condition. Make inspections a part of your regular house cleaning routine.

As a homeowner, you’re limited when viewing the ductwork and will find it tough to look at its inner workings. This can be accomplished by an air duct cleaning firm through a video inspection.

Person in a flannel shirt using a screwdriver to work on an air conditioning unit

The Right Time to Clean Air Ducts

Here are some primary signs that show your air ducts must undergo cleaning:

  • Mold is growing.
  • Thick dust gathers inside the air ducts.
  • Insects or rodents are present.
  • People’s allergies are triggered and this can include asthma.

Here are some secondary signs to watch out for:

  • You or someone you live with is a smoker.
  • Your pet sheds a lot of hair or dander.
  • Air ducts have water contamination.
  • Ducts are damaged.
  • Property renovation was conducted, especially work involving drywall.

You don’t have to panic when you notice dust settling a few feet from the return air duct. You’re not required to contact a professional to clean it right away. It’s understandable for return ducts to appear dirtier given their function of gathering room air back into the system. This can simply be removed through vacuuming.

How Clean Air Ducts Benefit Your Home

You may ask what benefit clean air ducts bring to your home. Among the top reasons for taking time to clean your air ducts is stopping mold growth. With contaminated air ducts, you can expect them to be a base for mold to thrive. Mold can be harmful to residents and can trigger asthma flare-ups in those who are allergic to it. When the HVAC system releases air through the ductwork, it can spread mold spores all over your house.

Bald person in a green shirt inspecting the siding of a house

Once persistent water gets into the ducts, it can lead to mold and mildew. If this occurs, you must prioritize cleaning the ducts before a mold problem develops. While home improvements can elevate the value of your property, they can also mess up your air ducts. Drywall work or floor sanding projects are prone to getting the ducts dirty so it’s best to attend to its cleaning before using the HVAC system.

Comparing DIY vs Professional Air Duct Cleaning

You might want to see the difference between going the DIY route in contrast to hiring professional cleaners for air duct cleaning.

A do-it-yourself duct cleaning results in the end parts of the supply and return ducts being cleaned with some debris being removed. The debris will also be located toward the side of the vents. You may spend around $50 to $100 if you do a self-cleaning of air ducts, and it definitely won’t be part of a quick house cleaning.

For professional duct cleaning, you’ll find that the ductwork is cleaned throughout and all the debris is removed. The debris also shifts towards the HVAC unit. The cleaning fee will range between $450 to $1,000 if you hire professionals.

Cleaning the air duct fully will require the expertise of a professional duct cleaning firm. They will have access to commercial equipment that only companies have. This type of commercial machine can’t be utilized by the property owners and typical vacuum functions won’t hold a match to it.

An assortment of tools on a wooden table

Commercial machines have the ability to mechanically suck the debris with a HEPA vacuum. This is done in an enclosed system and this process is known as source removal. Although DIY duct cleaning can still partially clean the ductwork, it’s limited to the openings of the system.

What Are the Consequences of Unclean Air Ducts?

If you don’t clean the air ducts, mold growth is inevitable and will continue to surround your home and spread throughout. This can be harmful to one’s health.

What Are the Advantages of Cleaning Air Ducts?

One of the top benefits of cleaning air ducts is the removal of debris from the ductwork system. If done by a professional, it can be fully cleaned out compared to simple vacuuming of a homeowner which only results in a partial cleanup. There’s no disadvantage apart from the cost of performing duct cleaning if you do it regularly.

Bottom Line

You can clean the air ducts less frequently or do away with the cleanup if you keep your home very clean. If you want to avoid having to vacuum, mop, and dust frequently, let the experts at Dazzle Cleaning take care of it for you. We are the top cleaning service provider in the Ottawa area. Get in touch today to learn more about our services.