Duct cleaning has been a subject of debate for many years, with some claiming that it can provide health benefits while others argue that it is unnecessary. While there is no definitive proof that duct cleaning can prevent health issues, it may be worth considering if you or someone in your family has asthma or allergies. Even if you don't have any special health concerns, duct cleaning may still be appealing to you on an intuitive level. After all, if your ducts are clean, the air coming out of the vents should also be clean, right?Despite what some companies may claim, there is no data to support the idea that duct cleaning can improve your health or reduce your energy bills.
In fact, the little independent research done on duct cleaning indicates that the process can actually create more problems than it solves. Although it may seem logical to clean the ductwork, the dust that settles in the ventilation system usually remains where it is and is unlikely to be carried through the air unless disturbed. Government studies in both the United States and Canada have failed to recommend duct cleaning as a routine measure. Researchers from the EPA and the CMHC used different methodologies and found that while cleaning fan blades can slightly reduce airborne particles and improve system efficiency, there are no other measurable benefits. The best way to keep dust, allergens, and other particles out of your home is to change your air filters regularly. With a newly installed system or a system in a house you just moved to, check the filter once a month to determine how quickly it gets dirty at different times of the year.
Most should be replaced every two to three months. If someone in your household has specific health problems such as allergies or asthma, consult your doctor first before considering duct cleaning. It is important to identify the problem so that the doctor can suggest alternatives. If you suspect you have a mold problem, either because of visible growth or because of a musty smell coming from the supply grilles, cleaning the ducts won't do much good if you don't get rid of the mold. Mold starts with a moisture problem and the ducts themselves are unlikely to be the source. Cleaning and maintaining HVAC equipment has some benefits but those benefits are relatively small and energy waste can be attributed to dirty ducts or equipment.
If you decide to go ahead with duct cleaning, make sure you hire a reputable company that uses proper equipment and techniques. In conclusion, while there are no proven health benefits to duct cleaning, it may be worth considering if you have specific health concerns or if you just want peace of mind knowing that your air is as clean as possible. Changing air filters frequently is still the best way to keep dust and other particles out of your home.