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Do I Really Need to Clean My HVAC Ducts?

Posted by: Cooper MechanicalWednesday, February 13, 2019

HVAC Duct Cleaning

The Truth About HVAC Duct Cleaning

Duct cleaning is a service provided by many HVAC companies. You'll often see persuasive marketing that cleaning your HVAC ducts will improve your family's health. In fact, some companies target parents of children with asthma and allergies, arguing that HVAC duct cleaning can help alleviate symptoms from both, as well as make your HVAC system more efficient, saving you money. 

The truth is that there is little evidence to prove these claims. A 2019 Washington Post article reporting recent EPA study finds there is no evidence to back up promises of improved health or measurable HVAC efficiency.

Why Would You Need a Duct Cleaning in the First Place?

It's true that dust and particulate debris settles inside the ducts of your HVAC system. Commonsense says that dust and debris can affect one's respiratory health, so cleaning the debris inside the ducts would result in cleaner air coming through the vents. While most probably aren't concerned, those with asthma may be persuaded by this common sense argument.

However, as the EPA study finds, the dust that settles in your ducts typically just sits there undisturbed. The study concluded that: 

“Duct cleaning has never been shown to actually prevent health problems. Neither do studies conclusively demonstrate that particle (e.g. dust) levels in homes increase because of dirty air ducts. This is because much of the dirt in air ducts adheres to duct surfaces and does not necessarily enter the living space. . . . Moreover, there is no evidence that a light amount of household dust or other particulate matter in air ducts poses any risk to your health.”

The real surprise of the finding is that a duct cleaning may actually make matters worse. Duct cleaning equipment stirs up that dust and debris, creating a bigger problem than the one it attempts to solve. The consensus from two separate, independent studies is that unless disturbed, duct dust is harmless to most and just simply sits there.

When is a Duct Cleaning Necessary?

There are some cases where duct cleaning is important. Any type of water damage to HVAC ducts makes mold growth a dangerous possibility. 

Additionally, birds, rodents and other animals often make homes in HVAC ducts, which can create larger problems. Removal and cleaning in these cases may be warranted.

What Really Matters for Air Quality?

As we've written about before, using the proper air filter for your needs and changing it regularly is the best way to keep your air quality high. For families with a member with asthma or a severe allergy, HEPA-filters that catch much smaller microscopic particulates are available.

The important thing is to remember to check and change your filter regularly. All homes are different, so some may clog a filter much more quickly than another. When debris blocks airflow, you'll a drop in HVAC efficiency and air circulation. Use a reminder on your smartphone, or sign up for an air filter subscription service to make sure that they are changed on a regular basis.

Need an Honest and Professional Opinion? Call Cooper

Cooper Mechanical Services is a family owned and operated business that's been serving the Myrtle Beach area since 1989. Our reputation is built on providing honest work. Before spending money on a duct cleaning, determine if it's necessary. 

For honest solutions to your HVAC questions and issues, call Cooper Mechanical Services.