Most homes in the U.S. use air ducts to deliver heat and air conditioning, but many residents do not consider the impact that ducts can have on their lives. In time, air ducts collect dust and debris, and in certain conditions, they can be a spawning ground for mold and can attract pests, such as insects and rodents. However, cleaning air ducts is a difficult task to perform well, and even though do-it-yourself (DIY) kits are inexpensive and tempting, duct cleaning is best left to an experienced professional.
Benefits of Duct Cleaning
The greatest benefit of duct cleaning is that it can reduce the risk of developing allergic reactions, breathing difficulties and other health conditions. According to the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA), up to 40 lbs. of dust is created each year in the average home, and even HEPA air filters are not 100 percent effective in stopping it from circulating through ducts. Dust from duct buildup is eventually pushed into the rooms of the home where it can cause irritation after being inhaled. Other benefits of professional duct cleaning include the following:
• Clears blockages
• Increases the efficiency of climate control systems
• Detects and removes harmful molds
• Damage to ducts can be detected and repaired
Why Not DIY?
DIY duct cleaning is rarely effective enough to reduce health risks, and even the best DIY kits cannot make up for a lack of professional experience. In addition, pole sweepers and vacuum attachments are almost never long enough to reach every inch of duct space. Remote camera systems have proven that DIY duct cleaning still leaves a significant amount of debris and dust, and it does nothing to stop the growth of mold.
How Often Do Ducts Need Cleaned?
A general guideline is that ducts should be cleaned at least once every five to ten years. However, cleaning may need to be done more frequently in certain homes and living conditions.