Are there any health benefits that come from HVAC system cleaning?
Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems have been shown to collect a variety of contaminants such as mold, fungi, bacteria and very small particles of dust that have the potential to affect overall health, The removal of such contaminants from the HVAC system and home should be considered one component in an overall plan to improve indoor air quality.
How can I determine if the HVAC system cleaning was effective?
The best way to determine if the HVAC system cleaning was effective is to perform a visual inspection of the system before and after cleaning. If any dust or debris can be seen during the visual inspection, the system should not be considered cleaned. While you can perform your own visual inspection using a flashlight and mirror, a professional cleaning contractor should be able to allow you better access to system components and perhaps the use of specialized inspection tools. In addition, following the Homeowner’s Guide to Air Duct Cleaning can help to ensure a top quality job.
What is the normal price range for the air duct cleaning service?
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says that “duct cleaning services typically – but not always – range in cost from $450 to $1,000 per heating and cooling system, depending on the services offered, the size of the system to be cleaned, system accessibility, climactic region and level of contamination” and type of duct material. Consumers should beware of air duct cleaning companies that make sweeping claims about the health benefits of duct cleaning, as such claims are unsubstantiated.
Consumers should also beware of “blow-and-go” air duct cleaning companies. These companies often charge a nominal fee and do a poor job of cleaning the heating and cooling system. These companies may also persuade the consumer to pay for unneeded services with and/or without their permission. (If you have knowledge of a practicing “blow-and-go” air duct cleaner, contact your local Better Business Bureau to report the company, and your local, federal and state elected officials to demand legislation.)
How often should residential HVAC systems be cleaned?
The frequency of cleaning depends on several factors, not the least of which is the preference of the homeowner. Some of the things that may lead a homeowner to consider more frequent cleaning include:
- smokers in the household
- pets that shed high amounts of hair and dander
- water contamination or damage to the home or HVAC system
- residents with allergies or asthma who might benefit from a reduction in the number of indoor air pollutants in the home’s HVAC system
- after home renovations or remodeling
- prior to occupancy of a new home.