How Often Should I clean my Air Ducts

  • by

As a general rule the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) recommends air duct cleaning every 3 to 5 years. How often you clean them can depend on factors individual to you. Sometimes cleaning is required more frequently. Which we will outline below.

Do you really need to clean your air ducts?

Cleaning and maintaining your air ducts helps to ensure good efficiency and reduce the build-up of mold and harmful pollutants. When your heating and cooling has a load of contaminents in it, it works harder, and this can shorten its lifespan. Put simply, clean ducts make it easier for your HVAC equipment to maintain the temperature you desire.

Dirty ducts circulate dirty air

Data from the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) shows that indoor air pollutants can be 2-5 times higher and sometimes 100 times higher than outdoor levels. Since most people spent 90% of their time indoors, that’s a lot of exposure to potential allergens, and bad bacteria.

According to the EPA, typical pollutants of concern include:

  • Combustion byproducts such as carbon monoxide, particulate matter, and environmental tobacco smoke.
  • Substances of natural origin such as radon, pet dander, and mold.
  • Biological agents such as molds.
  • Pesticides, lead, and asbestos.
  • Ozone (from some air cleaners).
  • Various volatile organic compounds from a variety of products and materials.

What to expect from professional cleaning

When most people think of air duct cleaning, they think of the aluminium ductwork that runs through their house; but a proper cleaning service will include other components in your HVAC system too. Such as:

  • Air hander unit
  • Condensation drip pans
  • Diffusers
  • Fan housing and motor
  • Heating and cooling coils
  • Supply and return air ducts
  • Supply and return registers

When to clean your air ducts

Puffs of dust or debris

Over time your ductwork can build-up with dust, allergens, pet dander, dead skin cells etc.. This may become visible in puffs of dust that are released through the air vents. This is not only bad to breathe in, but it can reduce the efficiency of your system and cost you more money.

Visible mold / musty smell

Mold thrives in damp, hard to reach places like ductwork. It’s not good to breathe in, so if you see visible mold or notice a musty smell you want to remove it as soon as possible. Mold spores can become airborne and circulate through your airducts, so it’s important to remove the mold source in addition to any visible growth. Sanitizing the area can also help to prevent future mold growth.

More than usual cold / allergy symptoms

Dirty airducts can exacerbate allergy and cause cold-like symptoms; especially in family members who have respiratory problems, the elderly and children. Those with asthma and allergies may benefit from more frequent air duct cleaning.

Pest infestation

If you notice insects or rodents in your air ducts then you’ll want to clean the ducts to prevent the spread of bad smells, and even airborne diseases.

Major renovation work

Major renovations can create a lot of dust and dirt that finds its way into uncovered vents. If you’ve undergone a major renovation it is a good idea to have your air ducts inspected and cleaned if necessary.