There has been much controversy and confusion regarding Air Duct Cleaning for HVAC systems. Often homeowners receive $49.95 duct cleaning specials from so-called “Blow & Go” organizations that lead one to believe that only clean ducts lead to a clean home environment. And many unsuspecting homeowners have bought into the fearful idea that their ducts must be crawling with nasty spores and other harmful creepy things.
What are Air Ducts?
Air ducts can be described as the HVAC system’s distribution system. There are supply ducts, those that supply cool or hot air to the living spaces, and return ducts that pull air from the space and return it to the air handler to be heated or cooled then re-circulated. They can be square or round and made of metal or composite materials.
What are the key elements of a HVAC system?
The typical HVAC system can best be understood by comparing its key elements to the circulatory system of the human body. The heart of the HVAC system is the compressor (the unit that sits outside) and air handler. These components work together to heat or cool the air then push the air through the ductwork (arteries) for distribution to the living spaces. Air filters are installed to filter out airborne impurities (liver) like pollen and dust. Filters can be made of fiber or foam, can be electronic or a combination of the two.
A clean, sealed duct system offers the best air quality and efficiency. It is most important that the HVAC system be looked at as a complete operating system. Ductwork is only one component. First, the ducts should be examined from the inside, out. Not just as far a worker can reach, but by equipment that travels completely inside the ducts discovering potential dust pockets, kinks, air leaks and other problems. Once completed the homeowner will have thorough documentation (including pictures) of the status of the system and what needs to be done, if anything, to improve air quality and maintain system performance.
If it is determined that duct cleaning is required, all air handling system components should be disassembled, including cooling coils, and cleaned by professional HVAC technicians. All air filters should be checked and replaced as recommended by your HVAC contractor. The truth is, if system filters are changed regularly and the HVAC system maintained properly, the need for duct cleaning is minimal.
When duct cleaning is needed, a reputable HVAC contractor should do the job. Why? They have the equipment to visually check out and document the complete duct system.
The good news
Most accredited HVAC contractors offer complete system evaluation and efficiency checks that can determine the need for duct cleaning, filter selection and replacement as part of their service offering or maintenance contract. It makes good sense to select a capable HVAC contractor that can provide these services when, and if, needed. An accredited HVAC contractor can install a variety of electronic, high efficiency or other filter types to help maintain these special air quality standards.