What is Air Duct Cleaning?

What is Air Duct Cleaning?

As discussed last month, the air ducts for your heating and cooling system may need to be cleaned if you have mold, a pest infestation or one of the ducts is clogged.

What is air duct cleaning?  


Having your ducts cleaned, if you have one of the above-mentioned problems, can improve air quality in your home. These services typically — but not always — range in cost from $450 to $1,000 per heating and cooling system, depending on the size of the system, services offered and how dirty the ducts are. 


What parts are cleaned?


When ducts are clean, a technician generally will not only clean the ducts but also all the various heating and cooling system components of forced air systems, including the supply and return air ducts and registers, grilles and diffusers, heat exchangers heating and cooling coils, condensate drain pans (drip pans), fan motor and fan housing, and the air handling unit housing.
These components can become dirty over the lifetime of an HVAC unit from regular use. And moisture can encourage the growth of mold and transfer its spores into your living area. Some of these pollutants may cause allergic reactions or other symptoms in people if they are exposed to them.


Why is cleaning air ducts imnportant?


If the entire system isn’t cleaned along with the ducts, it can re-contaminate the entire system and defeat the purpose of cleaning the ducts in the first place.
During a thorough cleaning, a service provider will use specialized tools to dislodge dirt and other debris in ducts, then vacuum them out with a high-powered vacuum cleaner. The technician may also use chemical biocides, designed to kill microbiological contaminants, to the inside of the ductwork and to other parts of the HVAC system. Some may also suggest applying chemical treatments, such as sealants or other encapsulants, to cover the inside surfaces of the air ducts and equipment housings because they believe it will control mold growth or prevent the release of dirt particles or fibers from ducts. This method is different from sealing ducts and should only be used after the system has been properly cleaned.

You should also take into consideration that most organizations concerned with duct cleaning, including EPA, NADCA, NAIMA and the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association (SMACNA) do not currently recommend the routine use of sealants to encapsulate contaminants in any type of duct. 

If you decide to have your heating and cooling system cleaned, it is important to make sure the service provider agrees to clean all components of the system and is qualified to do so.