The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has not fully weighed in on air conditioning duct cleaning for the home. The knowledge base for duct cleaning is still in its infancy. The case for commercial duct cleaning however is supported by reducing the number of incidents like Legionnaire’s disease. Air duct cleaning removes mold, dust, dander, contaminants and other pollutants from the air that circulates throughout your building so it just makes sense to have it done!
Have Often Should You Clean Your Air Ducts?
The filtration system in air conditioning systems should capture most of the pollutants before entering the duct work but even if you change filters as recommended, some dust and contaminants make it past them. Humidity levels will play a part in mold production. A five to ten year interval between cleanings should be sufficient for the average household. But there are other considerations that may pose a considerable health risk.
What Dust, Mold, Pollen, Viruses & Other Pollutants Are in My Air Ducts?
Excessive build up of dirt and dust will eventually lead to introduction of contaminates into our living spaces. Dust is primarily organic; shed dead skin as well as discarded insect and rodent waste products. Dust mites and other allergens are present to bedevil the allergy suffers. Pollen build up, in short anything not caught by the filtration system can find a home in the air ducts. Rodents by their anatomical designation are ‘chewers’ and can gnaw through the thin plastic or metal material of flexible ducts and set up housekeeping in a comfy climate controlled environment. Other biological contaminates like bacteria and viruses can hitch a ride as well. Cold and flu virus are small, may escape filtration and reside in the duct work.
Dirty Air Ducts Affect HVAC Performance
Dirt build up can exacerbate turbulence in air ducts, and build up on the surface of evaporation/condensations coils affecting the efficiency of heat pumps and air conditioning units. Mold may be problem in evaporative cooling system with the attendant high humidity conditions in a single stage system.
Dirty Outside Air Gets Trapped in Indoor Air Flow
Proximity to industrial complexes are a concern, particularly those that emit polluting particulates. If it is in the air outside, it will eventually find its way inside. Biological and some organic compounds are either dangerous in long term exposure situations or provide a foundation for bacterial or viral growth. Filtration by its very nature dictates the capture of most pollutants but must maintain porosity to accommodate high air flow. It is a given that stuff will make it through the filter and into the duct. If allowed to accumulate this ‘stuff’ will eventually break off and be reintroduced into the interior air.
DIY VS Professional Air Duct Cleaning
The equipment needed to clean flexible air ducts is not a typical homeowner investment. It is more cost effective to have a professional do the cleaning when needed. Yearly cleaning is not necessary, but 5 to 10 year intervals should be sufficient. Given the dusty and blown dirt conditions experienced in the desert, duct work can become very dirty over time. Commercial systems should be done on a tighter schedule whether they serve an industrial operation or the high foot traffic of a retail firm. Also consider potential risk if it can be proven the source of a client’s or employee’s health issue originated in your duct work. Professional air duct cleaning is more cost effective than a court appearance.