Heating system duct cleaning has been a subject of constant debate. Some people consider it as nonsense since there is no way it can help prevent health problems. Others on the other hand just feel like the ducts just needed to be cleaned for the sake of the idea that dirty ducts contribute to bad air quality. In this article, we will look into the practice of heating system duct cleaning and the different views that constitute those who believe it as fact and those who consider it as senseless and more like fiction.
Yes, it may be true that duct cleaning hasn’t really shown to actually prevent the likelihood of health problems. Likewise, studies that have been conducted do not really provide a decent conclusion stating that particle levels like dust and dirt in homes will increase because the heating system ducts are dirty. The truth is the dirt will mostly adhere to the surfaces of the duct and will least likely enter the room or the living space.
A homeowner has to understand that dirty ducts are only one of the several sources of air particles that thrive inside the home. Majority are contributed by pollutants, both coming from the outside and inside. And yes, there are in fact a lot indoor activities that will contribute to “polluting” the air inside and this includes smoking, cleaning, and cooking. So while there is proof of the existence of dirt particles in your heating system ducts, there is no direct evidence that those same particles will put your health at risk.
But then again, it doesn’t mean you just have to let go of the idea of cleaning your heating system ducts. There are several scenarios that you will eventually resort to cleaning them. Here are some of them:
1 – If you happen to see visible mold growth inside the hard surface of the duct like the sheet metal variety. Now when it pertains to mold detection in your heating system, there are various important points to look into. For instance, there are sections or areas that may not be possible for access, hence, you can’t go in there and do the inspection yourself. Therefore, you may have to call in the heating system professional to do it for you.
3 – Of course, you clean it up when the time comes that the amount of dust, dirt, and other debris in them are too much to tolerate and ignore. In fact, the ducts are full of them that some are already released from your supply registers to the interior or living space.
So the moment any of those things exists, it implies one or a couple underlying causes. Right before you do any cleaning or even think of replacing your ducts, any cause or causes should be corrected. If not, you’re simply going to experience the same problem all over again.
The Concept of Air Duct Cleaning
Indoor air pollution has become a growing concern nowadays. There is increased awareness among homeowners mainly because the health risks and the eventual consequences of ignoring it have affected a lot of people. Because of this, there are many companies today that are making and marketing products as well as services in order to improve the quality of indoor air. If you have a heating and cooling system at home, you are most likely receiving coupons in the mail, approached by companies and contractors, or you may have seen an advertisement about cleaning your air ducts so as to improve the indoor air quality.
Air duct cleaning can cost you about $500 to $1000 per system. The difference in the price is mainly due to the varying services offered, as well as the size of the system to be cleaned. Other factors include system accessibility and level of contamination, if there is any.
There are a couple of studies made that recommend the cleaning of the various heating system components including the ducts. The main purpose according to the research is to improve the efficiency of the system. So while it may not be true that duct cleaning can prevent the health risks associated with dirty air particles coming from them, it is true that clean air ducts substantially contribute to better performance and efficiency of the system. It also means that the same will have a longer operating life and will allow you to save on energy costs and expenses later on.
So you are likely to consider having your heating system ducts cleaned and maintained for the simple thought that the act is logical, especially considering the fact that they will eventually get dirty overtime. Now let us assume you are able to do the cleaning properly, there no proof that suggests doing so will be detrimental to the function or operation of your heating system. However, it has to be noted that EPA does not also recommend cleaning the duct in a routine or mundane manner. Instead, it should only be done when needed.
Accordingly, EPA also recommends that if you are using a fuel burning furnace or a fireplace, they have to be inspected and examined if they are properly functioning. Furthermore, they should be serviced each heating season in order to prevent other health risks because of leaks in them. For instance, the lack of inspection or services will correspond to carbon monoxide poisoning due to leaks.
Now provided you made up your mind on having your ducts cleaned, you have to at least take the same consumer precautions you usually would when it comes to evaluating a service contractor’s reliability and qualifications. For one, some air duct cleaning companies will tell you that they have to apply chemical biocide to the ducts in order to kill things like bacteria, germs, and fungi and likewise to prevent further growth. There are times when they also recommend that use of a sealant in order to prevent dust and dirt from being released into the indoor air. The same sealant will also be used for sealing air leaks. The thing is you do have to do your own research and understand the repercussions or risks involved in using both biocides and sealants.
So there you go –heating system duct cleaning is something that you have to do, eventually. It’s not like the same kind of maintenance and cleaning you routinely do with other components of your heating system, but it is still a necessity. And yes, much of the idea is fact instead of fiction. There are a lot of things that can happen to the air ducts when they are not cleaned. Even though there is no direct proof that it can contribute to polluting the air, the thing with dirty air ducts is that they can significantly alter or decrease the level of efficiency of the entire heating system.