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  • Home Air Duct Cleaning: Fact vs. Fiction

    Should you change your HVAC filter regularly? Or are air ducts one of the biggest sources of dust and dirt in our homes? We’re here to separate fact from fiction when it comes to air duct cleaning.

    Recommended upkeeps to help keep your home’s air quality in prime shape.

    • As a homeowner, you’ve probably heard that you should get your home’s air ducts professionally cleaned to enhance indoor air quality. The service can cost $450 to $1,000 depending on the size of your home and the complexity of your HVAC system (including the number of systems, vents and returns).* That’s a big chunk of change for a service some argue is essential—but others argue is completely unnecessary.

      When it comes to the benefits of air duct cleaning, it can be difficult to separate fact from fiction. Before you make the decision about what’s right for you and your home, take a look at what the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has to say about air duct cleaning.

      Fiction: Air ducts are one of the biggest sources of dust and dirt in our homes.

      Actually, several factors can have a bigger impact on your home’s air quality than the cleanliness of the air ducts. According to the EPA, pollutants from both outdoor and indoor activities, such as cooking, cleaning and smoking can cause greater exposure to contaminants than dirty air ducts.*

      Fact: Done incorrectly, duct cleaning can actually cause and increase indoor air problems.

      If you choose to get your home’s air ducts cleaned, be sure to select a reputable company. The EPA cautions that an “inadequate vacuum collection system can release more dust, dirt and other contaminants than if you had left the ducts alone.”* Furthermore, poorly trained professionals can actually damage your home’s ductwork, which can result in repair costs and an HVAC system that doesn’t run optimally.

      Fact: There are several scenarios where homeowners should consider having air ducts professionally cleaned.

      Are your home’s ducts infested with vermin (rodents or insects)? Are the ducts clogged with an excessive amount of dust and debris? Can you see a substantial amount of mold growth inside the ducts on the sheet metal or on other components of your HVAC system? If so, it’s wise to explore options for having your home’s air ducts cleaned by a professional service provider.

      Fiction: All air duct cleaning companies are created equally.

      You need to be highly selective when choosing an air duct cleaning company. The EPA advises homeowners to talk to at least three different companies and obtain written estimates before moving forward with duct cleaning.* Ask each company to show you the contamination it thinks justifies having your ducts cleaned. A few more tips from the EPA*:

      • Don’t hire duct cleaners who make claims about the health benefits of duct cleaning. Such claims are unsubstantiated.
      • If a company says it’s certified by the EPA, it’s not true. The EPA does not establish duct cleaning standards nor certifies, endorses or approves duct cleaning companies.
      • Check references and contact your local Better Business Bureau to see if other homeowners have lodged complaints against the companies you’re considering.
      • Obtain a written agreement outlining the scope of the job and the total cost of the job before the work begins.


      Fact: Changing the HVAC’s filter regularly is one of the best ways to prevent duct contamination.

      Talk to your contractor about your HVAC system options, and consider adding a whole-home air filtration unit to your overall system. The EPA recommends air cleaners that remove particles, such a high-efficiency mechanical filter, and says to avoid using air cleaners that work by generating ozone, which can increase the pollution in your home.**** Once your system is installed, use only the highest-quality air filters and replace them regularly to make sure your home’s air quality stays in peak condition throughout the many years you’re enjoying your home.