How To Guides

HVAC Duct Cleaning: What You Need to Know

Why, When & How Should HVAC Ducts be Cleaned? Who Can Clean Them?

Should HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning) ducting be cleaned routinely? Will cleaning improve air quality in the building and effect people’s heath? Do dirty ducts impair home heating and ventilation system performance?

There are many companies advertising a ductwork cleaning service, some make great claims that such cleaning will improve the quality of air in the house, improve health of occupants and improve the functioning of the HVAC system. Some may want to use chemicals to destroy bacteria and mould.

Cleaning HVAC Air Ducts

Cleaning of the HVAC ducts in a home is not something which needs to be done frequently. Peter Jones of advises air con ducts should be cleaned when:

  • There are visible signs of mould growth,
  • There is a pest infestation,
  • Dirt and debris are clogging the ducts or blowing out of the registers.

Experts believe there is no evidence to support claims that duct cleaning will make the heating system work better or improve the air quality in the building. This is because the layer of dust within the ducts does not usually move but sticks to the surface.

Homeowner HVAC Duct Maintenance

There are two things homeowners should do to protect ducts:

  • Change filters frequently and use the best filter available,
  • Prevent water, moisture or condensation entering the ducts.

Damp conditions are suitable for bacterial grow and mould, which may be detected by sight of smell. These problems may be destroyed using a suitable biocide.

Ducting is usually made from sheet metal but may be constructed from or lined with fiberglass, in which case there is no chemical biocide suitable for controlling bacteria and fungi growth on this surface. The contractor may use Ozone and the implications should be fully explored. The only permanent solution for fungi or bacterial growth in fiberglass ductwork is replacement.

Finding Air Duct Cleaners: Using Specialist Equipment

The ductwork can be cleaned by a specialist contractor with the right tools and should include all components of the HVAC system, not just the ducts. A specialist, high powered vacuum cleaner will be used for the ducting, the surfaces can be brushed but must not be cleaned with water or any liquid solution. While you can do it yourself, you might find the work involved and the need to purchase equipment makes it easier to get a professional in.

How Much Does Air Duct Cleaning Cost?

A number of contractors should be invited to inspect the system and give a quotation for the work. The homeowner should not be looking for the cheapest quote but for a professional, knowledgeable and ethical approach to the business.