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The average national cost to clean ducts & vents is $341, with most homeowners spending between $242 and $440. This data is based on actual project costs as reported by HomeAdvisor members.
Did you know that cleaning your ducts and vents can help airflow and increase energy efficiency? According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), air duct and vent cleaning can increase energy efficiency and indoor air quality. While the cost to clean ducts and vents might sound high, the benefits to homeowners–especially those sensitive to allergens–is worth considering.
What is Air Duct & Vent Cleaning?
When a professional cleaner comes into your home to clean air ducts and vents, that means they will clean all the different elements in the HVAC system, including the supply and return air ducts, grilles, diffusers, exchangers, heating & cooling coils, drip pans, fans and the air handling unit.
When these aren't properly maintained, they can build up dust, pollen and even mold. This means when the air conditioner or heater turns on, the spores are released into the air for you to ingest. While some are less harmful, people who have allergies or sensitivity to certain spores will react negatively. Plus, mold is just dangerous for anyone to ingest and should be avoided by regular duct and vent cleaning.
Do Ducts & Vents Need Cleaning?
In most modern homes with up-to-date heating and air conditioning systems, filters are changed regularly through the year, so you may not even need to have your ducts and vents cleaned. However, keep your eyes open for the accumulation of dust, dirt and mold. If you see it despite regularly changing your filters it could be an indication you need your ducts cleaned.
One of the best ways to know if your ducts or vents need to be cleaned is to just check them. Your eyes will be able to check for indications of mold, dust or pollen buildup in the ducts and vents. You might also be able to smell the presence of mold, which would be a clear indicator there is some in the ducts or vents. Ductwork will have some buildup of dust, since the return registrars pull air back in. However this doesn't mean your ducts have too much debris, and you can easily clean them with a duster or vacuum.
If you do have children or spouses who suffer from allergies or reactions to the air turning on, it might be an indication there is something in the ducts and vents making them react. They should speak with their doctors and then get a heating and cooling professional out if it is recommended that airborne pathogens are the cause of their reaction.
Here are some clear signs that you might need ducts or vents cleaned:
Insulated air ducts get that cannot be cleaned
Recurring mold growth
Ducts have rats or other vermin crawling in them or their droppings
Ductwork clogged with dust or debris that can be seen in the air
Visible mold inside the ducts or vents
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Can You DIY Duct & Vent Cleaning?
A do-it-yourself approach will only really scratch the surface, as it is hard to reach some of the ventilation running underneath the floor or into the wall. Although it may help in clearing some of the dust and debris, you really need a professional cleaner to guarantee your system is truly cleaned out. A proper duct and ventilation cleaning procedure uses a powerful vacuum system with multi-brush attachments designed to loosen debris and feed it into the suction. Particles are then blown outside of the house or passed through a HEPA filter inside.
If you want to get some of the dust and debris out of your ventilation system, you can mix household cleaners like bleach with water, dip a cloth in the mix and then the clean out the system. This will remove a layer of the spores, which could increase the quality of air a bit and help with the flow of air throughout the house until an A/C duct cleaning pro can come out.
What Professional Duct & Vent Cleaning Entails
Professional air duct and vent cleaning involves getting the dust and debris outside, so they use outdoor ventilation equipment. It is so important that homeowners make sure the professional is using good equipment then, as they could otherwise spread the spores into the home and further agitate sensitive family members. In the case of mold, a cleaner will only be able to tell you it is there, followed by needing an additional mold professional to come out and test or remove the mold. Air duct cleaning industries do not require state licensing, so make sure to check for a company with references.
Removing dust and debris from ventilation might require the professional getting down on the floor if you have floor vents, so be sure to speak with them about your furniture and other valuables near the vents to avoid any damages or problems.
Decreasing Duct Cleanings
Your duct system can be treated with a sealant. These sealants prevent dirt and dust from getting sent back into the air. Sanitizer chemicals can also be added to prevent the growth of mold and other allergens. This is a possible solution for saving on fewer A/C duct cleanings in the future.