What Is HVAC Duct Cleaning?

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  • Written By: B. Turner
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 19 September 2019
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Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are used to heat and cool the air in a home. These systems consist of a furnace or air conditioner, grilles, registers, diffusers, and a network of ducts that transport the air throughout the home. Many homeowners utilize HVAC duct cleaning services to ensure the pathways used for heating, cooling, and ventilation air are as clean as possible. By cleaning these ducts, one can help reduce indoor air pollution in the home and improve air quality levels.

HVAC duct cleaning companies start by inspecting the entire operating system to check for dirt, dust, mold, and other contaminants. These companies can then remove these contaminants using high-powered vacuums or high-efficiency particle air (HEPA) vacuuming systems. The company may also use a brush or duster, in conjunction with a HEPA vacuum, to dislodge dirt or mold trapped in the ducts. Some HVAC duct cleaning companies will then apply chemical treatments designed to kill germs and prevent mold growth.


There are a number of potential benefits associated with duct cleaning. The primary reason many homeowners choose to clean their ducts is due to health concerns. Moldy or dirty ductwork can spread pollutants throughout the entire home. Breathing this contaminated air can lead to a variety of health problems, especially for those who are already suffering from asthma or other respiratory conditions. HVAC duct cleaning can also reduce dust levels, making it easier to keep the home looking clean.

Duct cleaning can also improve HVAC efficiency, resulting in better performance. Air is able to travel freely through the duct system, and the operating systems do not have to work as hard to expel dust and dirt. This not only can mean a longer life span for these systems, but can also reduce energy consumption. Lower energy use can have a significant impact on monthly utility bills, and is also a benefit to the environment.

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, HVAC duct cleaning should not be considered a routine maintenance task. Instead, homeowners should generally only consider duct cleaning a necessity when their HVAC system shows visible signs of contamination. These signs may include mold growth, wet insulation in or around the ducts, or an infestation of rodents or insects with the ducts or intake grilles. In addition, HVAC systems that contain a buildup of dirt, or those that are blowing visible amounts of dust or debris into the home should be inspected for cleaning.


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