Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Heather's Place: To Clean or Not To Clean... That Is The Question

We are about to undergo a "duct cleaning service" for our home and it's possible some of you are considering doing the same.

We purchased our home last September and by the looks of the wealth of dust in the interior of the vents, I don't believe it has ever been done before. Since our air conditioning system could use a boost and I have been suffering allergies like never before, it seems like a good idea.  Or is it?

The United States Environmental Protection Agency's ("EPA") website states that having ducts cleaned do not prevent health issues nor do studies conducted demonstrate that particle levels in homes rise due to dirty air ducts. In fact, if cleaned improperly or by a non-reputable company without proper knowledge in air duct cleaning you may actually cause more problems.  You might damage the duct lining. This would clause an increase in air-conditioning and heating costs. It could also create more dust allergens if cleaned using an inadequate vacuuming system.

Having said that, there are some valid reasons for having the service should you find yourself dealing with one of the following:

  • "There is substantial visible mold growth inside hard surface (e.g., sheet metal) ducts or on other components of your heating and cooling system;
  • Ducts are infested with vermin, e.g. (rodents or insects); or
  • Ducts are clogged with excessive amounts of dust and debris and/or particles are actually released into the home from your supply registers."

The EPA cautions all to weigh the benefits and risks of having air ducts cleaned and not doing so if unnecessary. If no one in the home is suffering from allergies then it might be best to just leave well enough alone. However if you or a family member are experiencing unexplained illnesses or symptoms that could be home-related, it's best to check with doctor, read the EPA's guide to testing indoor quality and possible remedies which can be found here and consider the benefits of air duct cleaning.

Lastly, there is evidence that cleaning cooling and heating system components (coils, etc.) can extend the lifetime of the system creating a energy efficiency and maintenance cost savings.  There is some dispute about the amount of dust in the duct components that  effects system efficiency.

Should you decide that air duct cleaning is for you, look at the yellow pages under "duct cleaning," or contact National Air Duct Cleaners Association ("NADCA").

Please check the EPA website for more insightful information including what you should expect from a professional air duct cleaning service for your Oro Valley home or business and suggestions for choosing an air duct service provider.
Heather Nenadovich has lived in Oro Valley a total of five years. She has a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Arizona. Her husband is Canadian so she is a hockey fan by default and so are her two very clever children. When not being a mommy, she enjoys hiking in Catalina State Park, hand building pottery, and gardening. Her favorite things about living in Oro Valley are the towns recognition of art and culture, their commitment to preserving nature and the Christmas parade. (Also anything from GMG Chinese Bistro.)

1 comment:

Richard Furash, MBA said...

We had our ducts cleaned a few years ago. We noticed an immediate difference in air quality. A few days later, we had the carpets cleaned and noticed an even bigger difference. So my experience says that if you decide to do duct cleaning, schedule a carpet cleaning as well.