Spring Cleaning

With temperatures rising, you may begin throwing open windows and allowing the warmth of Spring to clear away the gloom of Winter. You may also feel the need to clean, freshen up your home, and breathe clean, natural air again. Naturally, your thoughts may turn toward the source of that air in your home; your air ducts.

So, you might want to hire an air duct cleaning service, thinking clean air ducts equals clean air. Before paying hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars for the service, it’s best to ask one important question: Does cleaning air ducts genuinely improve indoor air quality?

What is Air Duct Cleaning?

Air duct cleaning starts with a comprehensive evaluation and then cleaning of your air and heating system to remove debris, contaminants, and infestations by vermin (rats, cockroaches, etc.). A service provider will typically do an on-site visual inspection of the system, propose a cleaning plan, and then offer optional services like biocide spraying and sealing spray. 

It is essential that during the inspection process, the service provider thoroughly checks the system, as contaminants may be found deeper inside the system. For example, mildew tends to grow in places of high moisture, such as around drip pans and condensate lines.

When To Clean Your Air Ducts

While it may seem practical to clean your air ducts to improve overall air quality and extend the life of your air conditioning system, there is little evidence to support regular cleaning.

Most particulates are caught by the system’s air filters, which should be checked and changed three to four times a year, and dust in or around vents and registers can easily be cleaned with a vacuum.

Some research indicates cleaning increases the life of the air conditioning system, but it’s only effective if the entire system is cleaned. This includes not only the air ducts but the fans, filters, heat exchangers, etc. There is little evidence to suggest that only cleaning the air ducts improves efficiency and lifespan.

There is also a danger in getting your air ducts cleaned too regularly. People are people and sometimes they make mistakes. An improperly trained or careless service provider can cause damage to your air duct, depending on the method of installation and the amount of damage done and can be expensive to repair and reduce the overall efficiency of the system, costing you even more money.

So, when should you have your air ducts cleaned?

If you detect a musty smell coming from the vents in your home. This may indicate mold or mildew growth.

If your system seems to “kick on and off” more frequently than usual.

If your system is blowing warm air, that may indicate insufficient cool air getting into the system to cool the motor.

If you or someone in your household suffers allergic attacks (itching, watery eyes; congestion; scratchy throat, etc.) when they are in the home, it may indicate an excess build-up of dust, mold, or mildew growth.

If you notice scratching sounds from animals or the presence of insects.

Additionally, if you are using fuel-burning heat sources such as wood-burning fireplaces, gas-burning furnaces, etc., it is important to have them checked before using them. If the air ducts for these systems are clogged or blocked, carbon monoxide can back up into your house, potentially causing a dangerous buildup of gas and carbon monoxide poisoning.

Choosing a Service Provider

There are a wide range of service providers available, so it is important to research each provider fully before making a choice.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a provider:

Check their ratings

Check their ratings. Websites like Angi.com provide a list of local businesses based on your ZIP code with customer reviews, estimations, and more. Checkbook.org offers a paid subscription service to find local service providers, as well as articles on pet care, home maintenance, and more.

Use of chemicals

The chemicals used in cleaning air ducts, especially biocides and encapsulants, can cause several health concerns. Make you sure understand what chemicals will be used and what the potential risks are.

Conduct your own interview

As a potential customer, you have every right to ask questions that address your concerns. If you are not satisfied with the answers given, you are under no obligation to accept the offer. Only agree to a service once all your concerns have been settled.


Make sure the right equipment is being used. Soft-bristled brushes for fiberglass ducts, vacuum equipment with HEPA filters, and sealing and re-insulating any holes made by the service provider for access. Failure to reseal these holes will lead to loss of efficiency and higher energy bills.

Check their license

Many states require licenses to offer air duct cleaning services. This includes Michigan, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Arizona, California, and Arkansas. Other states may require licenses as well. Check your state laws first and then inquire about the status of the service provider.

Outside dryer vents

Confirm that the service provider will also inspect and clean your dryer vents. These often over-looked ducts can become blocked with dust and lint, creating a dangerous fire hazard.

Get an estimate upfront

Some service providers may charge a flat rate, but others may charge by the hour. Get an estimate of the number of hours or days the project will take. Then have the provider give you a written agreement on the number of hours, the rate per hour, and what happens in the event of an interruption of the work.

Finally, have them explain exactly what will be cleaned and how. As we said before, simply cleaning the air ducts will not benefit the system in any way. Make sure they clean all parts of the system, including fans, filters, and anywhere there may be moisture, like condensate lines and drip pans. Failure to clean these areas properly could lead to re-contamination by mold and mildew.

Questions? Call us!

If you have any questions or concerns about your air conditioning system, give us a call, email us through our website, or contact us through our Facebook page. Our professional technicians are ready to help keep you and your family safe and cool this summer.