TAMPA - Keeping your home clean is certainly a priority for most of us. Despite a spic and span appearance, is there hidden dirt and dust lurking out of sight, in the dark, unseen conduits of your ductwork? There are many companies that say "Yes!" and advertise their services aggressively. But is it really worth it to plunk down $300 to $500 for the job?
According to the EPA, there is no scientific evidence that regular duct cleaning improves air quality, but some consumers have reported that having their ducts cleaned has led to reduced allergy symptoms and cleaner air. Angie Hicks, founder of Angie's List, the nation's leading provider of consumer reviews, reminds us that the best way to keep our system working well and our air clean is by regularly changing the air filter on your HVAC system. Still, Angie's List asked highly rated duct cleaners to share the top reasons for air duct cleaning.
Air duct cleaning removes of all air-borne dust and debris from the air duct system components of HVAC, forced air systems, gravity heaters and other related systems. Dave Adams, an air duct cleaning company owner, describes how it works. First, your ducts are connected by hose to a negative air machine, essentially a giant vacuum. "The negative air machine pulls about 5,500 cubic feet of air per minute. We cut into the supply and the return side. We push through the system. The debris comes through the system, and then is carried outside to the negative air machine filter and all of the debris is captured outside so nothing will be inside your home."
Expert recommendations vary on this subject, but most experts agree that you will benefit from duct cleaning every three to five years. A cleaning may be in order if you have smokers in the household, pets with high amounts of hair and dander, notice excessive dust, water contamination or damage, after home renovations or remodeling or prior occupancy to a new home. If you want to know what the inside of your vents look like, open up the vent covers and take a picture.
"When hiring someone to do work you can't actually see firsthand the finished product you want to do you research on the company up front," said Hicks. "Make sure you have an experienced reputable contractor that gives you a good estimate and also gives you parameters of how long it's going to take. An air duct cleaning can take several hours. Another great tip - have them show you before and after pictures of your ducts so you can see what happened."
Allowing an unqualified contractor to clean your ducts, though, could be worse than not having them cleaned at all. More particles could be broken up and released into your home or your HVAC system could be damaged.
Angie's List Tips: Hiring a professional air duct cleaner