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Air Duct cleaning is the process of removing debris and contaminants from heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. Perhaps due to the home renovations shows that appear on television, many homeowners believe that your HVAC unit should be inspected and cleaned annually. The truth of the matter is: it depends on a variety of factors including where you live and what type of system you have. While there may not be a right or wrong answer as to how often ducts need to be cleaned, we recommend having them done every three to five years on average. However, some homes will need their ducts cleaned more frequently than this depending on certain factors such as pets in the household or if you have any allergies.

What Happens During a Duct Cleaning?

A qualified HVAC professional will set up a containment area to hold the debris that is removed from your ducts, and then utilize a powerful vacuum to remove dust and other contaminants from all of your heating ducts. They may also use a blower door test to determine if you have an air leak in your system, which helps them determine the number of air vents they need to clean. In addition, they may add chemical biocide/fungicide to prevent mold growth inside your ductwork. Finally, the technician will examine the condition of your furnace’s heat exchanger using an infrared camera before cleaning it. While it is rare for issues with heat exchangers to occur if a problem is discovered it may require a full replacement which will necessitate an additional expense.

Are Ducts Only in the Attic?

Many HVAC systems have ductwork located both in and outside of your home. The cool air from your evaporator coil enters the furnace through the supply plenum located in the attic, passes through your filter, and then into flexible ducting that distributes it throughout your home via ceiling outlets. In addition, some homes have multiple furnaces that provide heat for specific zones or floors, with many also having flex ducting that sends hot air from one area to another. This means there are a lot of places for dust and contaminants to settle inside these systems so regular cleaning is vital. Every system is different, so some systems have more or less ductwork than others. This means that the cost of cleaning may vary from home to home.

How Much Does it Cost?

If you are curious as to how much it will cost for HVAC duct cleaning, the answer will depend on your unique situation. While having someone come to your house and clean your heating system sounds simple, there are many variables that influence the price of this service such as The number of furnaces/air handlers or zones Filters How accessible the ductwork is If any chemical biocide was used What type of chemicals were used Whether or not they need to use specialized equipment (eg- wand) Additional services requested For example, if they use a rotary brush to remove dust from your vents it is going to cost more than if they only have to vacuum the debris. In addition, some companies charge by the linear foot for flex ductwork as more labor is required. Therefore, you should ask as many questions as possible before committing to duct cleaning service.

Beware of Duct Cleaning Scams

In recent years there has been an increase in reports from homeowners who were overcharged or duped into signing a contract for unnecessary services after hiring an HVAC company for cleaning their heating and cooling systems. Unfortunately, some unscrupulous businesses see dollar signs when they come across these potential customers and will attempt to upsell them on additional products and services once they arrive at their homes. While these companies may offer great deals, they often use cheap or rental equipment which can do more harm than good on your system.

If you already have a company you like and trust ask them if they provide this service. If not, make sure to check the reputation of any potential contractors before committing to one. Also, be cautious of deals that are “too good to be true” as many of these are just ploys to get customers in the door. Furthermore, always request an estimate in writing which lists all services provided at their cost including how much it will cost for parts/materials used with an estimated completion date so there are no surprises later down the road.


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