Is Duct Cleaning a Waste of Money?

Air duct cleaning can be an excellent investment for anyone looking for the best possible indoor air quality, as clean ducts lead to less particulate matter and other contaminants, as well as fewer health problems, etc.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, having properly maintained ductwork isn’t a waste of money if the duct cleaning process isn’t performed too often since this improves the system’s efficiency.

However, studies conclusively demonstrate when visible signs of household dust, airborne particles, or substantial visible growth are present, homeowners normally need to consider hiring a duct cleaner, especially if there’s been a change in respiratory or allergy symptoms or if there has been a long time period since the last HVAC system cleaning.

What is Air Duct Cleaning?

Is Air Duct Cleaning a Waste of Money?

Duct cleaning typically refers to the cleaning of various heating and cooling system components, including the supply and return air ducts registers, grilles and diffusers, heat exchangers heating and cooling coils, condensate drip pans, fan motor and fan housing, and the air handling unit housing. 

If air ducts are not properly installed, maintained, and operated, the components may become contaminated with dust particles, pollen, or other debris. If there is a presence of moisture, there is an increased risk of microbiological growth growing on duct surfaces and being released within the living space.

These contaminants can cause an allergic reaction or other health issues in those people that are exposed to them. 

Why Do You Need to Have Dirty Air Ducts Cleaned?

Conditions are different in every home, making it impossible to generalize about whether or not professional HVAC system cleaning or duct cleaning would be beneficial in your home. 

If there is nobody in your household that suffers from allergies or unexplained symptoms or illnesses, and if, after the visual inspection of the inside of the air ducts, you don’t see any indication that the air ducts are contaminated with large amounts of dust, having your air ducts cleaned is likely, not necessary.

Return registers getting dusty as dust-laden air is pulled through is normal. It does not indicate that your air ducts are contaminated with large amounts of dust or debris, as you can use a vacuum cleaner to remove the dirt from the registers with ease.

However, if you have family members experiencing symptoms or illnesses that are unusual or unexplained and you believe they are related to your home’s environment, you should discuss it with your doctor. The EPA has published some publications for guidance on identifying problems with air quality and ways to prevent them. 

Signs of Dirty Air Ducts

Some of the following reasons why you should consider having the duct system in your home cleaned include the following:

  • There is significant growth inside hard surface ducts or other components of your heating and cooling system. 
  • Air ducts are infested with rodents, insects, or other vermin. 
  • Air ducts are clogged with too much dust, and debris and/or particles are released within your home from the supply registers. 

How to Choose a Shreveport Air Duct Cleaning Company

You shouldn’t assume that all air duct cleaning service providers have the same knowledge, as there are several duct cleaning scams out there.

Talk to several different HVAC system service providers and have them provide written estimates before you make a decision on who to use. Ask the providers when they come to your home to show you the contamination to justify having your air ducts cleaned. Reputable HVAC companies will not mind doing this.

Air Duct Cleaning DO’s and DON’Ts

Here’s what you should not do:

  • hire air duct cleaners that make claims about the health benefits of air duct cleaning. These claims are unsupported.
  • hire an air duct cleaning service that suggests air duct cleaning as a routine part of your heating and cooling system. 
  • use duct cleaning providers that claim to be certified by EPA, as the EPA does not establish duct cleaning standards, nor do they certify, endorse, or approve any duct cleaning companies. 
  • allow the provider to use chemical biocides or chemical treatments without understanding the pros and cons. 

Here’s what you should do:

  • check references to ensure that other customers were satisfied with the experience and did not experience any issues with their heating or cooling equipment after the cleaning. 
  • determine if complaints have been submitted against any of the duct cleaning companies you’re considering by contacting your county or city office of consumer affairs or local Better Business Bureau (BBB).
  • interview potential providers to ensure they are experienced in duct cleaning; they will use procedures to ensure you and your pets. Your home is protected from contamination. They comply with the air duct cleaning standards set forth by NADCA, and if your ducts are made of fiberglass duct board or insulated with fiberglass duct liner internally, with the NAIMA.
  • ask the provider if they hold any relevant state licenses. The following states require air duct cleaners to hold special licenses: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, and Texas as of 1996.
  • request an estimate of the number of hours or days the job will take if the service provider charges by the hour.
  • make sure that the cleaner you select will provide a written agreement before the work begins that outlines the total cost and scope of the job.

What Should You Expect From Air Duct Cleaning Services?

If you decide to have your ducts cleaned, your provider should:

  • Allow the entire system to be cleaned and inspected by opening access ports or doors.
  • Ensure that there are no asbestos-containing materials within the system by inspecting it before cleaning.
  • Use vacuum equipment where particles are exhausted outside of the house, or only use high-efficiency particle air (HEPA) vacuuming equipment if the vacuum exhausts inside. 
  • Make sure that carpet and household furnishings are protected during the cleaning. 
  • Only use soft-bristled brushes for fiberglass duct boards and sheet metal ducts lined with fiberglass internally.
  • Protect the ductwork, which can include sealing and insulating any access holes they may have made or used so that they are airtight. 

Air Duct Cleaning Checklist

Performing a visual inspection is the best way to verify your heating and cooling system’s cleanliness. Some duct cleaning companies document conditions inside the ducts by using remote photography. You should not be able to detect any debris on any portion of the system. After the job has been completed, ask the provider to show you every component of the duct to confirm the job was done correctly. 

If you answer “No” to any of the following questions provided on the checklist, it may indicate a problem with the job. 

  • General
    • Did the service provider obtain access to and clean the entire heating and cooling system, including ductwork and all components (drain pans, humidifiers, coils, and fans)?
    • Has the service provider adequately demonstrated that duct work and plenums are clean? (Plenum is a space where supply or return air is mixed or moved; it can be a duct, joist space, attic, crawl space, or wall cavity.)
  • Heating
    • Is the heat exchanger surface visibly clean?
  • Cooling Components
    • Are both sides of the cooling coil visibly clean?
    • If you point a flashlight into the cooling coil, does light shine through the other side? It should be if the coil is clean.
    • Are the coil fins straight and evenly spaced (as opposed to being bent over and smashed together)?
    • Is the coil drain pan completely clean and draining properly?
  • Blower
    • Are the blower blades clean and free of oil and debris?
    • Is the blower compartment free of visible dust or debris?
  • Plenums
    • Is the return air plenum free of visible dust or debris?
    • Do the filters fit properly, and are they the proper efficiency as recommended by the HVAC system manufacturer?
    • Is the supply air plenum (directly downstream of the air handling unit) free of moisture stains and contaminants?
  • Metal Ducts
    • Are interior ductwork surfaces free of visible debris? (select several sites at random in both the return and supply sides of the system.)
  • Fiberglass
    • Is all fiberglass material in good condition (i.e., free of tears and abrasions; well adhered to underlying materials)?
  • Access Doors
    • Is every newly installed access door in sheet metal ducts attached with more than just duct tape (e.g., screws, rivets, mastic, etc.)?
    • With the system running, is air leakage through every access door or cover very slight or non-existent?
  • Air Vents
    • Have all the registers, grilles, and diffusers been firmly reattached to the walls, floors, and/or ceilings?
    • Are the registers, grilles, and diffusers visibly clean?
  • System Operation
    • Does the system function properly in both the heating and cooling modes after cleaning?

You should ask your provider to correct any deficiencies until you are able to answer all the questions above with a “yes.”

How to Prevent Air Duct Contamination

shreveport air duct cleaning

Whether you decide to have your air ducts cleaned or not, practicing good preventative maintenance is essential to keep duct contamination at a minimum. In order to prevent dirt from entering the system, you should:

  • Use a high-efficiency air filter.
  • Changes filters regularly.
  • Change your filters more frequently if they become clogged.
  • Make sure you don’t have any missing filters and that air can’t bypass filters via gaps around the filter holder. 
  • Ask your service provider to clean cooling coils and drain pans when having your heating and cooling systems maintained.
  • Seal off supply and return registers during construction or renovation. In addition, don’t operate the heating and cooling system until after cleaning up the dust. 
  • Vacuum your home regularly and remove dust.
  • Operate and maintain the humidifier as recommended if your heating system includes in-duct humidification equipment. 

Moisture shouldn’t be present in ducts. Controlling moisture is the most effective way to prevent biological growth in air ducts. Moisture can enter the duct system from leaks or if the system has been installed or serviced improperly. Condensation on or near the cooling coils of air conditioning units is a key component in moisture contamination. The presence of high humidity or condensation is an indication of growth potential. While controlling moisture can be difficult, there are some steps you can take to help prevent it from happening, such as:

  • Repair leaks or water damage promptly and properly.
  • Pay attention to your system cooling coils, as they are designed to remove water from the air and can be a main source of moisture contamination. Ensure the condensate pan drains properly. The presence of standing water and/or debris in substantial amounts can indicate a problem requiring attention immediately. Also, check for wet spots on any insulation that is near cooling coils.
  • Ensure that ducts are sealed and insulated properly in all non-air-conditioned spaces. Doing this will aid in the prevention of moisture due to condensation entering the system. 
  • Make sure that the unit is the appropriate size and that all ducts are sealed if you’re replacing your air conditioning system. An oversized unit will frequently cycle on and off, which will result in poor moisture removal, specifically within areas with high humidity.   

Call Pioneer Comfort Systems for Shreveport Air Duct Cleaning Services

Do you have dirty ducts? While we know there are a number of duct cleaning companies out there, none of them can do the job like we can. If you’re located in the Shreveport, LA, area and need duct cleaning services, stop looking! Pioneer Comfort Systems can handle all of your duct cleaning needs. The professionals on our team are committed to working in a timely and effective manner to clean your HVAC ducts. 

Not only can we provide Shreveport duct cleaning services, but we also provide quality Shreveport HVAC maintenance and repair services. If you choose us for regular maintenance of your HVAC system, we inspect, clean, adjust, and/or repair of the components of your system when needed. This includes your condensate drain pans, evaporator coils, heat exchanges, air filters, cooling coils, and so on. 

Schedule an appointment for our air duct system cleaning services in Shreveport or Bossier City by calling our local office at 318-795-8000 or submitting an online contact form here.