Does Your Ductwork Need a Comprehensive Cleaning? The 3 Red Flags

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There is conflicting information regarding duct cleaning and whether it’s necessary in the average home. Here is what federal EPA experts know for sure: a clean duct system may increase the energy efficiency of your HVAC system and improve your home’s indoor air quality if the ducts are particularly dirty or clogged. Basically, ducts only need to be cleaned on an as-needed basis, so you should be wary of anyone who says ductwork cleaning needs to be done regularly.

Here are three red flags indicating your home could benefit from comprehensive ductwork cleaning:

  1. You see dust or debris coming out of your vents. If your ducts are poorly sealed, filters aren’t changed regularly enough, or your home has been recently remodeled, dust, construction byproducts, pet dander and other particulate matter will begin to accumulate in your ducts. If you see dust or debris blowing out of the vents when your forced-air system cycles on, it’s a sign the ducts need to be cleaned. Once all that debris has been cleaned up, you may even notice a slight decrease in your monthly utility bills.
  2. There is noticeable mold, or dark stains on vents, grilles or exposed ductwork. Mold and mildew cause serious health hazards and are also a sign your indoor humidity is out of balance. Once those spores take up residence in your ducts, they can proliferate. It’s a vicious cycle. In addition to causing allergies and more serious respiratory problems, mold and mildew can compromise the structural integrity of your home, cause unsightly spots and stains on ceilings, carpets, and walls, and will create an undesirable musty odor. After your ducts have been professionally cleaned, speak with the HVAC technician about whole-house dehumidifying options that will prevent future mold issues.
  3. You have a rodent or insect infestation. Ducts can provide an optimal living space for rodents and vermin. Ducts are temperature controlled and sealed off from most predators. If your home has recently experienced a pest infestation, ductwork cleaning will remove waste products, nests, carcasses and other pest-related debris.
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