Maintaining clean air ducts is essential for a healthy home environment. To ensure that your air ducts are free of dust, dirt, and other contaminants, it's important to take the necessary steps to keep them clean. Installing an indoor air quality (IAQ) system is one way to ensure your air ducts remain clean. Additionally, you should clean the ducts every 1 to 3 years and use filters with a minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) of between 9 and 12. This will help remove dust and dander from pets efficiently without overloading the heating or cooling system.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not recommend that air ducts be cleaned routinely, but only when necessary. If you have a furnace, stove, or fireplace that burns fuel, they should be inspected for proper functioning and maintained before each heating season to protect them from carbon monoxide poisoning. You may also want to consider cleaning your air ducts simply because it seems logical that the air ducts will get dirty over time and that they should be cleaned from time to time. If you decide to clean your air ducts yourself, open a vent cap to check for dirt, dust, or any other substance you don't want to get inside. You can also contact professional duct cleaning service providers and ask them about the services they offer.
For seasonal air conditioning systems that operate only at certain times of the year, clean the air ducts approximately one month before you plan to reactivate the air conditioning system. When cleaning your air ducts, it's important to use products specifically designed for use in ducts or as ducts themselves. These products are tested according to standards established by Underwriters Laboratories (UL), the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). With the arrival of spring and summer, it may be a good idea to clean the ventilation grilles and ducts through which the domestic air you breathe circulates. In some cases, using sealants to encapsulate duct surfaces may be appropriate. This includes repairing damaged fiberglass insulation or combating damage caused by duct fires.
However, there is little evidence to indicate that simply cleaning the duct system increases its efficiency. Sealants should never be used on the wet lining of ducts, to cover actively growing mold, or to cover duct debris. Whether or not you decide to clean your home's air ducts, it's essential to commit to a good preventive maintenance program to minimize duct contamination. This modified version of professional duct cleaning removes dirt from most ducts but does not cover the entire system. Cases in which the use of sealants may be appropriate include repairing damaged fiberglass insulation or combating damage caused by duct fires.