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Often Misunderstood; Not Sufficiently Performed: Ventilation Duct Cleaning

Duct CleaningThe National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA), states that a typical single-family, six-room home can have up to 40 pounds of dust created annually through everyday living. Whoa! That’s a lot of dust!

Furthermore, your heating and cooling system takes this dust through the air ducts and spreads it throughout your home.

Having your ducts cleaned on a regular basis offers the following benefits:

  • You won’t have to dust as often. A clean duct won’t be blowing built-up dust throughout your living spaces.
  • Your indoor air quality will be much improved. Dirty air ducts irritate asthma and allergy symptoms for those who suffer with these conditions, increasing the risk of getting ill.
  • You’ll save energy and money. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that a buildup of just .042 inches of dust in ductwork can decrease heating and cooling efficiency by more than 20 percent. Clean ducts save energy and cut your utility bills.

Increased Risks

Do you have smokers in the home or pets or family members with asthma or allergies? Is there water damage, or remodeling construction in process? These factors increase the need for air duct cleaning. A clean, efficient system lasts longer, has fewer problems, and operates better than one that hasn’t been cleaned on a regular basis.

In addition, duct cleaning reduces microscopic contaminants commonly found in ducts, including:

  • Bacteria
  • Mold spores
  • Fungus
  • Pollen
  • Pet dander
  • Dust mites

What’s involved in a Thorough Duct Cleaning?

Duct cleaning is not a do-it-yourself project. Specialized equipment, such as a camera on a flexible cable (camera snake) is used to complete a visible inspection of the ductwork.

The cleaning process begins by cutting an access port in the plenum, the box on top of the HVAC system where the ducts originate. Then technicians insert long flexible brushes into the ducts. The brushes spin and have a vacuum attachment to knock loose debris and suck up dust. The entire process involves much more than simply getting into the ducts to wipe them down. Special equipment is needed to access the entire duct system. The entire process takes, on average, about four hours. We:

  1. Inspect the system for bacteria, mold spores, fungus, pollen, pet dander, and dust mites
  2. Lay protective covers over household furnishings and carpet during the cleaning process.
  3. Vacuum out the ductwork and exhaust the air to the outside or use equipment fitted with a HEPA filter to exhaust air to the interior.
  4. Brush off all duct surfaces using a soft-bristled brush to dislodge dust and debris.
  5. Remove any animal or insect nests and other evidence of pests.
  6. Seal and insulate ductwork to prevent air from escaping, which can increase costs and decrease efficiency.

Maintain Optimal Efficiency

The NADCA recommends having your air ducts professionally cleaned every three to five years. Keep in mind that timing can vary greatly depending on:

  • Location and climate
  • How often you use your heating and cooling system.
  • If anyone in your home has allergies or asthma.
  • If you have pets.
  • If you’ve moved to a new home, built a new home, or your home has recently undergone remodeling.

 Signs that You are Overdue for a Cleaning

If you notice black debris around air vents, this is a clear indication of a dirty system. You may also see a “poof” of dust when air or heat is released from a vent. Also, when changing the air filter, you may notice visible dust buildup in the vent work. If you have a suspicion of mold in the ductwork or see insect, vermin, or rodent infestation in the ducts, call for a duct cleaning right away!

Not a Project for the Do-It-Yourselfer

Professional air duct cleaning addresses supply and return ducts, air vents, and diffusers. Special brushes and vacuum equipment are necessary to effectively remove debris, as well as the safe application of chemicals to address issues such as mold. Duct cleaning also includes the professional cleaning and maintenance of your heating and cooling system. To prevent damage to your system and exposure to harmful contaminants and chemicals, professional, trained duct cleaning is essential.

Call Nashoba Air & BoilerWorks at 978-486-0600 if you want to learn more about ventilation duct cleaning or if you’d like to schedule a cleaning.