The recent news has us revisiting a question we asked not long ago: is duct cleaning worth your time and money? Since it’s not a service we offer, we don’t have a particular dog in this fight. But we do handle a wide range of HVAC services in the Sacramento area, and it’s a question that’s come up quite a bit lately.
COVID-19 and Duct Cleaning
Let’s start by addressing the 800-pound pathogen in the room. If you’re worried about COVID-19 (and these days, that would be most of us), this is one time you can actually breathe easy. Your HVAC system, ducts and all, is actually helping to keep you a bit safer indoors. While it’s true that central air and ductless heating systems both rely on air recirculation, they also rely heavily on filters. As long as you’re changing your filters on schedule and using the best available filters for your system instead of the cheapest you can find, you’ll be in good shape.
Common Indoor Air Quality Problems and Duct Cleaning
Speaking of filters, they’ll also help you to address many of the common airborne contaminants in your home, including common household dust and the pollen and other schmutz you’re tracking in from outside. Paradoxically, that dust buildup can even help as long as it’s not disturbed, since it helps trap contaminants in place.
That isn’t to say that your ducting has nothing at all to do with air quality, or that it cannot in the future even if it does not now. There are a few instances where your ductwork is the reason for your sinus headaches, allergies, and asthma flare-ups. We’ve heard of rodents — live and dead — being found in HVAC ducts. Insulation, especially in older homes that used asbestos to insulate the ducting or dampen sound, can work its way into the system. And if you’ve got a leak (be it your roof or your plumbing), that often leads to mold and mildew that can thrive and make you ill.
Thoughts in Closing
If you research duct cleaning, you’ll find plenty of pros and cons. Consider the source, since some companies that offer duct cleaning as part of their portfolio won’t be quite as transparent as the companies that don’t. Even impartial sources acknowledge that the science is mixed, with the EPA flatly stating the benefits are sketchy, but no harm should come to you or your home… provided the job is done right.
So the one piece of advice we’d give in this instance is the same one we’d give if you approached us with any other home heating and cooling issue: shop carefully, since someone who’s well-intentioned but inexperienced could show up with the wrong equipment and end up causing severe and expensive damage. If you’re seeing more dust than usual, vacuum your grilles and registers, clean out your dryer vent, and change your filter. But absent a larger problem like the ones discussed above, your best bet is to leave well enough alone.
For the rest of your home heating and cooling needs, give us a call at (916) 455-4548 or schedule online.