Why Should You Have Your Ducts Cleaned?
As the National Air Duct Cleaners Association maintains, “because they get dirty!” (NADCA).
In addition to normal accumulations of dust and dirt found in all homes through regular use, several other factors can increase the need for air duct cleaning:
- Occupants with allergies or asthma
- Cigarette or cigar smoke
- Water contamination or damage Home renovation or remodeling projects
Some occupants are more sensitive to these contaminants than others. Allergy and asthma sufferers, as well as young children and the elderly tend to be more susceptible to the types of poor indoor air quality that air duct cleaning can help to address.
EPA Suggests Having Your Air Ducts Cleaned
The EPA adds that you should consider having the air ducts in your home cleaned if there is substantial visible mold growth inside hard surface (e.g., sheet metal) ducts or on other components of your heating and cooling system.
There are several important points to understand concerning 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.
- You should be aware that although a substance may look like mold, a positive determination of whether it is mold or not 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 cannot be effectively cleaned and should be removed and replaced. If the conditions causing the mold growth in the first place are not corrected, mold growth will recur.
- Ducts are infested with vermin, e.g. (rodents or insects); or
- Ducts are clogged with excessive amounts of dust and debris and/or particles are actually released into the home from your supply registers.
If any of the conditions identified above exists, it usually suggests one or more underlying causes. Prior to any cleaning, retrofitting, or replacing of your ducts, the cause or causes must be corrected or else the problem will likely recur.
What Is Air Duct Cleaning?
“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.”
The National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) also states, “air duct cleaning is a misnomer” (NADCA.com). The hold that the entire HVAC system should be cleaned and that failure to clean all components of the system can result in re-contamination of the entire system, thus minimizing the benefits of cleaning. “Just as you wouldn’t only clean half of your living room floor, you also would not want to clean only part of your heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system” (NADCA.com). NADCA recommends cleaning the entire HVAC system, including the following components:
- Air ducts
- Drain pan
- Air plenum
- Blower motor and assembly
- Heat exchanger
- Air Filter
- Air Cleaner
If not properly installed, maintained, and operated, these components may become contaminated with particles of dust, pollen or other debris. 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, it is important to make sure the service provider agrees to clean all components of the system and is qualified to do so. Failure to clean a component of a contaminated system can result in re-contamination of the entire system, thus negating any potential benefits.
Basics: Duct Cleaning
Our dedication to quality assurance helps ensure and promote a higher standard of performance than other Chicagoland air duct cleaning. Quality assurance also provides a means of consumer education. This page will walk you through the basics of air duct cleaning and the difference that being a National Air Duct Cleaners (NADCA) member makes.
We perform work in accordance with NADCA Standards, ensuring your home receives a thorough cleaning.
What is the NADCA Standard and Code of Ethics?NADCA Standard:
A company must meet stringent requirements in order to be a member of NADCA. The company must:
- Have at least one NADCA certified Air Systems Cleaning Specialist (ASCS) on staff
- Maintain at least $500,000 in general liability insurance
- Agree to clean according to NADCA's Standards, as outlined by our checklist page
- Comply with NADCA's Code of Ethics, outlined below
As a NADCA certified company, we follow a strict code of ethics that, when combined with the NADCA standard, provides a higher level of assurance to our customers. Below are the NADCA & Mr. Duct Code of Ethics:
- We will serve our customers with integrity and competence.
- We will perform our work using source removal methods. In order to eliminate or prevent the delivery of airborne pollutants into indoor air spaces through HVAC ductwork, we will remove the dust and others contaminants from the system. Thus, we pledge to administer source removal methods, cleaning the system ductwork as thoroughly as possible, before applying any coatings or treatments, including deodorizers, disinfectants, and/or sealants
- We will be honest and forthright in our advertising.
- We will provide our clients with accurate inspections and evaluations of the cleanliness and physical condition of their HVAC systems, using this information to determine the type of cleaning and maintenance services required, if any.
- We will provide only necessary and desired services to our clients, and will not use furnace/air duct cleaning as a means of selling unnecessary or unwanted products or services.
- We will provide services only after completing the necessary bonding and licensing procedures.
- We will utilize the services and products of those who possess specialized skills, tools, or trades not possessed by us when circumstances call for work to be done which we are unable to perform.
- We will stay abreast of new developments in technology, tools of the trade, building codes, the Uniform Mechanical Code, and any other codes or information that directly affects our work.
- We will require that all employees of our firm practice furnace/air duct cleaning in accordance with NADCA Guidelines and the Code of Ethics.
- We will perform our services in accordance with the current published standards of the Association. If I will be unable to clean in accordance with NADCA standards, I agree to disclose this limitation to my customers at the point of sale, in advance of any cleaning.
Source Documents & Further Research
EPA's "Should You Have the Air Ducts in Your Home Cleaned?": http://www.epa.gov/PR_Notices/prdraft_hvacr_2006.htm
NADCA's "Why Choose a NADCA Member?": http://nadca.com/residential/why-nadca