NYC Metro Area’s HVACR Blog

Commercial HVAC, Residential HVAC

Duct cleaning services: Why, when & how?


As a HVACR service provider, here at Arista we perform a variety of different services for our customers related to heating, air conditioning, ventilation and refrigeration. Many of them are fairly straightforward (at least from the customer’s standpoint!): your air conditioning breaks and we fix it. Even the reasons for preventative maintenance of HVACR equipment are fairly well understood. But when it comes to duct cleaning services, people tend to have a lot of questions.

If you’re reading this, chances are you have questions too. So today we’re going to answer some of the most common questions we hear every day about duct cleaning services.

WHY you need duct cleaning services

Chances are, you have noticed at least some of these problems caused by (or exacerbated by) dirty HVAC ductwork. Here are the most common reasons duct cleaning services are needed:

To improve your indoor air quality
The quality of the air you breathe can affect you in all kinds of ways. There are immediate health effects that you may already be experiencing, such as respiratory problems, eye, nose and throat irritation, headaches, dizziness, nausea and fatigue. Air quality problems can also cause comfort issues that are not necessarily detrimental to your health, but unpleasant nonetheless, such as odors, high humidity and stuffy air.

Homes and businesses have poor indoor air quality for all kinds of reasons, including:

  • VOCs from household cleaners, paints and finishes, building materials and carpet, dry cleaning, gasoline, pesticides and cigarette smoke
  • Smog and other outdoor pollutants making their way indoors
  • Dust
  • Pet dander
  • Inadequate ventilation due to poor HVAC design
  • Excess humidity, leading to the growth of mold and mildew

When you have these contaminants in your space, they are circulated by your HVAC system. In the process, they can build up in your ductwork. Even if the source of contamination is removed, the contaminants in the ducts continue to be released into the air.

To eliminate odors
When mildew builds up in your ductwork (often because of uncontrolled humidity), after a while you may notice lingering musty odors in your home or business. To deal with this issue, have your ductwork inspected for mold by a duct cleaning services professional. In this case, a thorough cleaning as well as mold remediation may be needed to get rid of those nasty odors.

Related topic: HVAC System Maintenance, Humidity and Your Poor Indoor Air Quality

To cut down on dust
Have you noticed clouds of dust coming from your heating and air conditioning registers? That’s a good indication that you’ve got a large buildup of dust lining the walls of your ductwork. Once you’ve invested in quality duct cleaning services to remove it, you’ll have less dust accumulating on your furniture and throughout your space.

To improve your comfort level
Did you know that dirty ductwork impedes the functioning of your HVAC equipment? Airflow is very important to the efficient operation of air conditioning and heating systems. When your ducts are clogged with dust and debris, less air can flow through them. When airflow is diminished, your system has to work harder to heat and cool the space. As a result, you’ll notice hot and cold areas, higher humidity, and the system having trouble reaching set temperature.

To reduce HVAC breakdowns
If your HVAC equipment has to operate for too long under the strain of poor airflow (due to clogged ductwork), its operation can quickly deteriorate from inefficient to malfunctioning.

For example, one common problem that occurs from poor airflow is frozen coils. Have you noticed your air conditioning unit running constantly? Water leaks? Those things can happen due to ice buildup on the condenser coils, which occurs when airflow is diminished. The next thing you know the increased load on the compressor will cause it to fail. That usually means your unit is DOA.

Investing in duct cleaning services can actually save the life of your air conditioner!

Related articles:
AC Troubleshooting: 10 Common Causes of a Constantly Running System
FROZEN HVAC System? Don’t “Let it Go!”

WHEN you need duct cleaning services

This question doesn’t have such a straightforward answer. Unlike preventative maintenance services for HVAC equipment, there’s no recommended timetable for duct cleaning services. A lot depends on the age and upkeep of your equipment.

For example, a fairly new HVAC system in a good air quality location, that’s also been well maintained, might not need duct cleaning services at all. On the other hand, an industrial business dealing with a lot of contaminants might need ducts cleaned several times a year or even more. The only way to know for sure if your ducts need cleaning is by having them inspected by a duct cleaning services professional.

If you suspect your ducts are dirty, the following signs can tell you it’s time to call for an inspection:

  • excessive dust coming from registers and building up on surfaces
  • lingering, musty odors
  • high humidity
  • mold growth on walls and ceilings

HOW to choose a duct cleaning services provider

When you need duct cleaning services, your best source of quality providers is the National Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA). This organization has developed the standards for the ductwork inspection, cleaning and maintenance industry. NADCA-certified Air Systems Cleaning Specialists follow the rigorous standards for equipment, processes, and cleaners, so you can be sure the job will be done right.

Here is another tip to identify a quality duct cleaning services provider: ask about the company’s expertise in mold remediation. Your ducts may not have mold, but if it is found you want to be dealing with a company that has the experience to get rid of it safely and effectively.

Still have more questions about duct cleaning services? Get answers from this informative guide: FAQ: Duct Cleaning and Your Indoor Air Quality.

FAQ: Duct Cleaning and Your Indoor Air Quality. What you don't know could hurt you. Get the free guide today.