Your home’s air ducts directly affect the quality of your indoor air, so it’s good to know exactly how they work—and how you should take care of them.
Duct cleaning generally refers to the cleaning of various heating and cooling system components of forced air systems, including the supply and return air ducts and registers, grilles and diffusers, heat exchangers heating and cooling coils, condensate drain pans (drip pans), fan motor and fan housing, and the air handling unit housing.
If not properly installed, maintained, and operated, these components may become contaminated with particles of dust, pollen or other debris.
Even worse, if moisture is present, the potential for microbiological growth (e.g., mold) is increased and spores from such growth may be released into the home’s living space. Some of these contaminants may cause allergic reactions or other symptoms in people if they are exposed to them.
If you decide to have your heating and cooling system cleaned, make sure you hire a qualified service provider agrees to clean all components of the system. Failure to clean even one component can result in the re-contamination of the entire system. Typically, a service provider will use specialized tools to dislodge dirt and other debris in ducts, then vacuum them out with a high-powered vacuum cleaner.
Every home is different, so it is typically hard to generalize whether a home needs duct cleaning or not. However, there are ways to determine if duct cleaning would be beneficial for you and your family.
You May Not Need Duct Cleaning if:
No one in your household suffers from allergies or unexplained symptoms or illnesses
After a visual inspection of the inside of the ducts, you see no indication that your air ducts are contaminated with large deposits of dust or mold (no musty odor or visible mold growth)
It is normal for the return registers to get dusty as air is pulled through the grate. This does not indicate that your air ducts are contaminated with heavy deposits of dust or debris; the registers can be easily vacuumed or removed and cleaned.
You May Need Duct Cleaning if:
Family members experience unusual or unexplained symptoms or illnesses that you think might be related to your home environment; you should discuss the situation with your doctor.
There is substantial visible mold growth inside hard surface (e.g., sheet metal) ducts or on other components of your heating and cooling system.
Here are important points to understand about mold detection in heating and cooling systems:
Many sections of your heating and cooling system may not be accessible for a visible inspection, so ask the service provider to show you any mold they say exists.
Although a substance may look like mold, a positive determination can be made only by an expert and may require laboratory analysis for final confirmation. For about $50, some microbiology laboratories can tell you whether a sample sent to them on a clear strip of sticky household tape is mold or simply a substance that resembles it.
If you have insulated air ducts and the insulation gets wet or moldy, it can’t be effectively cleaned. Remove and replace it.
If the conditions causing the mold are not corrected, it will recur.
Ducts are infested with vermin, e.g. (rodents or insects)
Ducts are clogged with excessive amounts of dust and debris and/or particles are actually released into the home from your supply registers.
Note: EPA has published Indoor Air Quality: An Introduction for Health Professionals that can be obtained free of charge by contacting IAQ INFO at the number listed in this guide. You may obtain another free EPA booklet from IAQ INFO entitled The Inside Story: A Guide to Indoor Air Quality for guidance on identifying possible indoor air quality problems and ways to prevent or fix them.
We Offer Professional Duct Cleaning
If you think duct cleaning might be a good idea for your home, but you are not sure, talk to a Gilmore professional. We’ll help make sure you get the thorough service that you need.