Duct Cleaning. What You Need to Know

Published on: August 30, 2012

If one particular part of your air conditioning unit could be singled out as the most important part to maintain, your ducts would probably be first in line according to many licensed HVAC professionals. Proper air duct cleaning goes hand-in-hand with good indoor air quality as well as with other health benefits that come along with having cleaner indoor air.

Air duct cleaning is a maintenance that is often overlooked, even by licensed professionals. It is always good for a homeowner to know a little bit about what is really involved with air duct cleaning and how it affects the indoor air quality of living space.

Below are some of the top things that you should know about air duct cleaning and your indoor air quality.

One – Having an air duct cleaning is not a normal part of a routine maintenance or check up.

In order to have a duct cleaning performed on your air conditioning unit in the first place, you have to request it on a special basis. It is not a part of any routine maintenance procedure, and if you do not ask for it, you cannot blame your professional if you have a problem with your indoor air quality that turns out to be duct related.

You need to focus on the symptoms that showcase a lower indoor air quality and give those symptoms to your licensed professional in the same way that you would report symptoms in your body to a doctor. If you note that

– the air inside of your living space is more stuffy,
– you can visibly procure a greater number of dust particles than normal, or
– you are coughing more than normal, especially during holiday season,

You should let your maintenance man know immediately so that he can make sure to check the ducts and clean and if they need cleaning.

Two – Different states have different regulations when it comes to duct cleaners.

Although you may hire a licensed professional to check out your air conditioner every so often, in certain states duct cleaning is a completely different discipline that requires different certifications.

If you live in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Michigan or Texas, you need to hire an air duct cleaner with a specialized license in that field. Even if other states do not specifically require this special license, you should still know the experience that a certain maintenance person has had with duct cleaning if they determine that is what you need.

Three – Note the difference between a dirty duct and one that needs to be cleaned immediately.

Because the purpose of air ducts is to catch dust and other contaminants from the outside air before they get inside, there will always be some sort of residue on the ducts when you get ready to clean them. This is not necessarily a problem in and of itself and you should note the dust on a duct only if it gives you one or more of the symptoms stated above in this article.

Four – Make sure you know what chemicals are being used to clean your air ducts.

If your ducts are in need of a serious cleaning, or if your technician simply does not know any other way to clean an air duct, you may have to vacate the premises when the ducts are being cleaned. Many of the chemicals that are used to clean air ducts are highly toxic to the human body and should not be read in under any circumstances.

On top of this, these toxic chemicals may be spread to the dining areas of the house if the professional is not careful. This is another reason to check the specific certification of a professional to clean air ducts.

These more extreme methods of cleaning ducts will definitely be needed if you do not check on a routine basis the cleanliness of your air conditioning system. Biocides and other extremely toxic chemicals are always needed to kill algae and fungi, which only had the opportunity to form inside of a duct system over time. If you have a routine maintenance check done and you note to the professional that you always want your ducts checked, you stand a much better chance of avoiding a more serious cleaning with the more toxic chemicals.

If you are unsure of whether the chemicals that your professional is using are viable, you can always check with the Environmental Protection Agency, which regulates chemical biocides.