The (honest) Cold Hard Facts About Air Duct Cleaning

Air-Duct-Cleaning-projectAre Duct Cleanings Really Worth It?

Here Are the Facts You Should Know!

An air duct is a conduit that works as a pathway through which the air goes in and out of the building within an HVAC system. Air duct cleaning is the process of cleaning this conduit. Air duct cleaning services usually use blowers, a vacuum, and brushes to remove dirt and debris from the conduit. The question is, can air ducts really get so dirty that they need special cleaning? Are duct cleanings really worth it, or are they just a scam?

Here are the facts:

Air Duct Cleaning Improves Health? Hmm… Nope, Not Really!

Some companies claim that regular air duct cleanings may improve the air quality inside your house, and therefore improve your respiratory health. The truth is, no scientific research has found proof to support such a claim. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) discourages duct cleaning as it may create new and bigger problems instead.

While it is true that there is dust in your air ducts, the fact is that this dust is harmless. Most of it will stay where it is regardless of the air movement through it. There might be a little bit of dust flowing through, but it will get filtered anyway before it enters your house interior. However, a powerful blow or vacuum during the “cleaning” process may stir everything up.

Another concern is that some companies use antimicrobial chemicals to clean your ducts. These chemicals may leave residue inside the ducts that will fly along with the air into your room. For people with respiratory sensitivity, this may trigger reactions such as asthma or coughing.

To maintain the indoor air quality instead, experts recommend replacing your filters every three months. As long as you do this, no duct cleaning will be necessary.

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Air Duct Cleaning Solves the Mold Problem? Not Really!

Even if you have mold inside your ducts, a duct cleaning service will not help because taking out the mold will not solve the problem at all. Loosening the mold will instead contaminate the air that flows throughout your living space.

Mold is created from a moisture problem, and this is what you need to address, otherwise, the mold will grow back inside your ducts. As for the infected area, it is better to replace the whole thing with a new duct. Cleaning and reusing it will not be effective because the duct has already been damaged.

Air Duct Cleaning Improves HVAC Performance? You Guessed It: No Way!

Another claim that is commonly used to advertise duct cleaning services is that duct cleaning makes your HVAC system perform more effectively. This, however, is not true either.

Air ducts have a thin layer of plastic lining to block the heat. This lining is very fragile, and it gets more fragile after years of use. The duct cleaning process only makes things worse. The vacuum or blower will put extreme pressure on the linings, which might make them even thinner and weaker. Brushing the duct, moreover, may scratch the lining. With all of these activities, the lining may become prone to leaks. Obviously, this will decrease the effectiveness of your HVAC system.

Therefore, don’t believe the cleaning services: Air duct cleaning will not improve the performance of your HVAC system. The opposite may be true.

Another Problem

In addition, there is another problem that could come about after you perform duct cleaning. Some companies use duct sealant to conclude the cleaning process. They claim that it makes your duct stronger. However, your duct doesn’t actually need sealant. The sealant is actually dangerous because it is made of flammable material.


So, don’t get tricked by the cleaning services’ warnings. Getting your air ducts cleaned is not necessary, and it will likely do more harm than good. Instead, replace your filters every few months. If you discover that you have a mold problem, replace your ducts instead of having them cleaned.

For more information about air duct maintenance, see: How Duct Sealing Will Improve Your Home



ECM Air Conditioning, with its headquarters located in Boynton Beach, FL, provides air conditioning services within Palm Beach County, Broward County, Martin County, and St. Lucie County. If you’re looking to have a new HVAC system installed, we’re on-call and ready to assist you. So if you’re in need of an HVAC installation, don’t hesitate to contact us today to schedule an inspection! Our HVAC installation experts will check your ductwork, measure, check wire sizes, and more before making recommendations to ensure maximum efficiency and comfort. Call us at 561-295-1763 or contact our HVAC installation team online by clicking here.


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