You might have seen advertisements on TV and in the papers about service providers offering air duct cleaning services. You probably switched channels or maybe you just skipped that page in the magazine or newspaper altogether. Why?
Your answer to this question is most likely, “I don’t need air duct cleaning services.” In fact, you need it. If you have air ducts installed in your house and office, you do need to get them cleaned.
To help you understand why you should hire a contractor for air duct cleaning and what will happen if you don’t get your air ducts cleaned, read on.
What are air ducts?
Air ducts are used in the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system in your house and office. They help in maintaining the air quality inside your houses. They also help in maintaining the acceptable temperature in your house. They do so by regulating the air flow. They supply or deliver, as well as return or remove the air. They also exhaust the air.
What is air duct cleaning?
Air duct cleaning is the cleaning of your heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. It basically involves the cleaning of the forced air system components. These components include the supply and return air ducts and registers, grilles and diffusers, heating and cooling foils, heat exchangers, drain pans, fan motor and fan housing, and the air handling unit housing. Since you yourself cannot do air duct cleaning, you need the help of a qualified professional.
Why is air duct cleaning necessary?
If the forced air system components of your heating and cooling systems are not properly maintained and cleaned, they may get contaminated with dirt, debris, pollens, molds and mildews. If there is moisture, the chances of mold and mildew growth increase. Since air ducts are responsible for delivering the air into your house, contaminated air ducts will release the spores in the living space. Controlling the moisture will help prevent the growth of molds and mildews in the air ducts.
What should I do to control moisture in the air ducts?
Controlling moisture is an essential part in air duct cleaning. A qualified HVAC contractor will examine your HVAC for any leaks or accumulation of water and fix the source of the problem. The contractor will also make sure that your drain pan is sloping towards the drain. This will help in draining water under the cooling coils. If any of the insulation components or the fiber glass is wet or has mildew growth, the contractor will remove it and replace it with a new one. If you are using a dehumidifier, the contractor will make sure that it is working properly.
Which is the most effective method in air duct cleaning?
The Source Removal method of air duct cleaning is widely considered to be the most effective method. In this method, the heating and cooling systems specialist will use a powerful vacuum to place the HVAC system under negative pressure. The vacuum will slowly draw the air through the system. In the meanwhile, the professional will use certain tools to extricate any debris which is lodged in the interiors of the systems. This dislodged debris travels down the air ducts and the vacuum sucks it out from the system.
When should I consider employing a professional for air duct cleaning?
There could be many reasons for you to consider hiring a professional for air duct cleaning.
If you or a family member smokes, you should consider getting your air ducts cleaned frequently.
If there are infants, young children, and elderly and pregnant women living in the house, you should hire a professional for air duct cleaning.
Similarly, if you or any of your family members suffer from any kind of respiratory disorders such as allergies, breathing problems or asthma, you should consider frequent air duct cleaning. Improving the air quality in the house is very important for such people as it helps in keeping these problems under control.
If you notice that suddenly, you and other family members have begun suffering from frequent allergies, colds and coughs, and breathing problems, it is probably time for air duct cleaning. Sudden increases in such disorders and diseases are a sure sign that the indoor air quality has declined. Contamination in the air ducts is definitely one of the causes that you should be looking at in such a scenario.
If you have pets in the house such as dogs and cats, you should consider regular air duct cleaning. Pets tend to shed hair which can get stuck in your air ducts and cause your HVAC to work improperly.
If water damage has happened to your HVAC systems, you should hire a contractor for air duct cleaning. Water damage can lead to improper functioning of the air ducts and also lead to excessive moisture. Excessive moisture will in turn lead to biological contamination in your air ducts and in your home.
If you recently renovated or remodeled your home or office, you should hire a professional for air duct cleaning. Home renovation will lead to dirt and debris flying around the house and into your air ducts. Excessive dirt and debris will in turn lead to the circulation of unclean and unhygienic air in your house.
Similarly, if you just bought a new house, you should look at hiring a contractor for air duct cleaning. You never know what kind of contamination is present in the house and in the HVAC systems unless you get it checked by a contractor.
What other benefits can I expect if I get the air ducts of my HVAC system cleaned?
Apart from the health benefits involved through improving the quality of air indoors, you can also expect your energy bills to go down. Studies have demonstrated that if the components of your HVAC systems are clean, they are bound to work more efficiently and use less power. This will reduce your electricity bills.
Also regular air duct cleaning and maintenance by a HVAC specialist will help in reducing the likelihood of frequent breakdowns of the HVAC system. You can expect the life span of the HVAC system to be longer.
Regular air duct cleaning will also help you identify any potential damages to your HVAC system and help you get the damaged fixed before it leads to further deterioration of your heating and cooling system.
I want to hire someone for air duct cleaning. What should I keep in mind while hiring a contractor?
Now that you have decided that your air ducts need to be cleaned, make sure that you hire the right contractor to do this job.
To find a qualified air duct cleaner, check your yellow pages.
Speak to at least three to five contractors before making your decision.
Ask the contractors for references and follow up on them.
Make sure that the contractor has enough experience in the area of air duct cleaning. Ask for their license and insurance.
Make sure that the contractor is certified by an accredited organization to perform air duct cleaning.
Make sure that the contractor has the right kind of equipment to perform air duct cleaning at homes.
Make sure that the air duct cleaning method to be used is safe for you, your family members and your pets.
Ask the contractor for an estimate of the number of hours it will take to perform the air duct cleaning and the charges it will involve. If you find a lot difference between the estimates of the different contractors you interviewed, find out why.
Make sure that you have a written agreement with the contractor before the work started.
I hired a contractor. How should I make sure that they are doing an effective job?
Make sure that the hired contractor can access all the components of the heating and cooling systems. Check to make sure that the contractor cleans the heat exchanger surface, the cooling coil, the drain pans, the blower compartment, the metal ducts, the fiber glass, the doors, the air vents, the registers, grilles and the diffusers.
The HVAC specialist is through with the air duct cleaning in my home. How do I know that the air ducts have been thoroughly cleaned?
Ideally, you should examine your HVAC system before the cleaning begins. If you are not sure where to look and what to look at, you can ask the HVAC professional to show you the dirt and debris or any mold growth present in the air ducts. Check carefully and make a mental note of whatever you see. Once the cleaning is completed, you can then check to see if any dirt, debris or molds are still present, based on what you saw before the air duct cleaning. If you find any dust or mildew still present, you should point it out to the contractor. Make sure that all signs of dust in your air ducts are removed. Make sure that all the components listed above are absolutely clean.
Also make sure that all the components of the HVAC system are functioning properly after the air duct cleaning. Any damage should be immediately pointed out to the contractor. The contractor should fix it before leaving your house.