Cleaning the air ducts in your home can help to eliminate dust,
strange odors and improve your breathing.
If the inside of your home seems slightly dingy and dusty no
matter how often you clean, if you notice a strange odor in your
home, and if your family members suffer from chronic respiratory
difficulties, it could be time to get the air ducts cleaned.
Your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system, sometimes
referred to as "HVAC," can collect a variety of harmful contaminants
like mold, fungi, bacteria, and small particles of dust. These
contaminants fill the air in your home, (not to mention the window
sills), and can affect your health-in particular your breathing.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), removing
these contaminants from your home can improve indoor air quality.
Not only will your air quality be improved, but your HVAC system
will function more efficiently, costing you less money in heating
and cooling bills.
Cleaning the air ducts in your home is not a task you can perform
yourself. A company will come into your home and use a special
vacuum to suction dirt out of the ducts. They may also employ
special equipment to dislodge any items that may be stuck in the
ducts. You will probably also have the option of having a sanitizer
applied to the ducts. This is an anti-microbial chemical that
will reduce the growth of bacteria and fungus. This sanitizer
should be applied only after the system is cleaned, and should
be certified by the EPA for use in HVAC systems. Be sure to ask
about EPA certification prior to hiring the duct cleaning company.
A good source for information on air duct cleaning is the National
Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) at www.nadca.com.
This association certifies air duct cleaners and provides detailed
information on what to expect when you hire someone to clean your
Generally, duct cleaning will cost anywhere from $450 to $1000
depending on the size of your home and the type of system you
have. The NADCA warns consumers to be aware of "blow and go" companies-companies
that promise to clean your system for a very low price. These
companies rarely do an efficient job, and typically persuade customers
into purchasing unnecessary services.
You should have the ducts in your home cleaned every three to
five years. If you live in a house with smokers or pets, or you
live in a dusty climate you will probably need to clean the ducts
every three years. Be sure to change your air filters four times
a year in between cleanings. This will reduce dust build-up in
While cleaning your air ducts is certainly not the most exciting
activity you will spend money on this year, it could be one of
the best purchases you make.
Source: National Air Duct Cleaners Association, www.nadca.com;
Lee Fleming, The Washington Post.