Spring cleaning is a tradition for a reason. Back in the 1800s, long winters spent indoors with kerosene lamps left a layer of soot and grime in every room. Even today, homes tend to accumulate more pollutants during the winter, with some pollutants 2 to 5 times more concentrated indoors than outdoors.
While most of us today aren’t dealing with literal soot from lamps, we still accumulate dust, dirt, dander, and bacteria everywhere in our homes. That includes the places you can’t reach, like your air ducts.
This spring, make it your goal to remove those contaminants and restore your home to the clean sanctuary you deserve.
When Do I Need Duct Cleaning?
While there have never been great studies on the impacts of duct cleaning, it seems like common sense that removing allergens and contaminants would improve your air quality. The EPA recommends considering duct cleaning in certain situations, such as visible mold growth, ducts clogged with excessive dust, and rodent infestations.
Here are a few times we recommend hiring a professional duct cleaner:
1. You see visible mold around the air ducts.
Mold is associated with many negative health effects, including coughing, wheezing, and upper respiratory tract issues in otherwise healthy people. Some people may be particularly sensitive to mold and experience strong allergies or asthma.
If you think there is mold around your air ducts, get it tested to make sure it’s not a lookalike substance and then get your duct system cleaned.
2. The house seems to collect dust no matter how much you clean.
If it seems like your home has been inexplicably dusty lately, your HVAC system and ducts may be at fault. A good cleaning by a professional duct cleaner might make all the difference.
3. You notice allergy symptoms whenever you turn on the heat.
Many people are sensitive to indoor allergens like dust, which often builds up in air ducts. When you turn on the heat, those built-up allergens could be lifted back up into your air and moved around your home.
If you’re allergic to something in the air at home, a good professional duct cleaning might help!
4. You’re not sure when the ducts were last cleaned.
Is your house more than 10 years old? Are you unsure when the air ducts were last cleaned? If your answer to both questions is ‘yes’, it’s probably time to hire a duct cleaner! It’s quite possible your ducts have never been cleaned at all.
5. You experience asthma despite taking medicine.
Air duct allergens might be the source of your unexplained asthma, especially if you did not experience problems in your prior residence. If you’ve tried everything else, professional duct cleaning is certainly worth a shot.
6. There is debris coming out of your vents.
Visible debris spilling out of your vents is a sure sign that your ducts need to be cleaned. This debris is not only unsightly and potentially harmful to your health, but also likely to be restricting your airflow.
Blockages in your vents will make your entire HVAC system less efficient. If you want to save money on your monthly energy bills, you might be wise to get your air ducts cleaned!
7. You had a rodent infestation.
Have you had a problem with household pests? Many rodents and insects like to hide in air ducts. If you’re not sure where the pests had their nest, there’s a good chance it was out of sight in your ducts.
Even the most thorough indoor cleaning may not have reached all their droppings and larvae. These leavings can become serious health hazards, so you should have your ducts cleaned sooner rather than later.
8. You recently remodeled.
Particleboard dust and other substances can easily spread throughout your home after a remodel. It’s a good idea to take extra measures to preserve your air quality, including getting your air ducts cleaned.
The Duct Cleaning Process
When you hire a duct cleaner, you should look for a qualified professional. A company that has been around for at least few years under the same name, is certified by NADCA, and is willing to show you proof of liability insurance is probably trustworthy. A company that popped up a few weeks ago probably isn’t.
Be wary of duct cleaners who offer highly discounted services. Some “blow and go” companies try to scam homeowners with $49 or $99 whole-house duct cleanings, then do a poor job of cleaning or pile on extra fees. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Here is an overview of the duct cleaning process:
- The duct cleaners should take precautions to protect carpets, furnishings, and the surrounding area.
- All the ports and doors to the duct system will be opened. In some cases, a technician will need to cut an access port in the plenum, which is where your air ducts originate.
- The entire duct system will be inspected for asbestos, which should only be removed by contractors with special training.
- A strong vacuum will be used to knock particles loose and suck them out.
- The duct cleaners will brush the duct surfaces and remove any remaining particles with contact vacuum cleaning.
- A technician will use soft-bristled brushes to clean fiberglass in the duct interior.
- The duct cleaner will reseal and re-insulate your duct system.
The entire process usually takes a few hours, depending on the size of your duct system. You can expect moderate noise, especially while the duct cleaners are vacuuming.
You may or may not notice an immediate change in air quality. There is more likely to be a noticeable difference right away if the ducts were extremely contaminated, if you have allergies, or if the previous resident was a smoker.
Duct Cleaning in Seattle
DuctVac Northwest provides duct cleaning and other indoor air quality services in the Puget Sound Region. With over 25 years in the HVAC industry, we are certified with the National Air Duct Cleaners Association and pride ourselves on honesty and integrity.
Contact us today to get a quote for duct cleaning in King, Snohomish, Skagit, Whatcom, or Island counties.