According to the EPA, there are a few signs to look for when considering having your ducts professionally cleaned:
- visible mold growth inside ducts or other heating and cooling system components
- rodents or insects inside ducts
- excessive dust and debris inside ducts
In addition, you may consider having your ducts cleaned if:
- you have a number of pets in your home
- there are people who smoke in your home
- you have had recent home renovations
- your local weather is humid – which can cause moisture and mold to build up in your ductwork
- overall home cleanliness – more frequently cleaned homes have less dust and debris that can build up in ducts
While it is safe to assume that over time, dust, pollen, pet dander and other allergens will accumulate in your ductwork, changing your furnace filters (Is it Time to Change Yours?) and maintaining your HVAC system through regular service check-ups can reduce the need for frequent cleanings. Proper maintenance will also help prevent bacteria and mold from developing.
Because too much dust and debris in your ducts can impede the flow of air and cause your HVAC system to work harder than necessary, maintaining clean ductwork will increase the overall energy efficiency of your heating and air conditioning systems. It is important that coils and grilles are also checked and cleaned regularly.
If you are unsure of the condition of your ducts, a qualified professional can evaluate whether they need to be cleaned. The National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) has set standards to help the consumer make sure they are getting the job done right.