Fumes from indoor air quality, household and garden chemicals, insulating particles, and dust can enter the duct system, exacerbating asthma and allergy problems. Sealing ducts can help improve indoor air quality by reducing the risk of contaminants entering the ducts and circulating through your home. The knowledge about cleaning air ducts is still in its early stages, so a general recommendation cannot be offered as to whether you should clean the air ducts in your home. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) urges you to read this document in its entirety, as it provides important information on the subject.
Duct cleaning has never been proven to actually prevent health problems. Nor do studies conclusively demonstrate that the particle (e.g., dust) levels in homes with dirty air ducts are higher than those with clean air ducts. This is because much of the dirt in the air ducts adheres to the duct surfaces and does not necessarily enter the living space.It's important to note that dirty air ducts are just one of the many possible sources of particulate matter that are present in homes. Contaminants that enter the home through both outdoor and indoor activities, such as cooking, cleaning, smoking, or simply moving around, can cause greater exposure to contaminants than dirty air ducts. In addition, there is no evidence that a small amount of household dust or other particles in air ducts poses a health risk.
If any of the conditions identified above exist, it usually suggests one or more underlying causes. Before ducting is cleaned, modernized, or replaced, the cause or causes must be corrected, or else the problem is likely to recur. Some research suggests that cleaning the components of heating and cooling systems (e.g., cooling coils, fans and heat exchangers) can improve the efficiency of these systems and reduce emissions of some pollutants from these systems. However, there is little evidence that cleaning only the ducts improves system efficiency. You can consider cleaning the air ducts simply because it seems logical that the air ducts will become dirty over time and need to be cleaned from time to time. As long as the cleaning is done correctly, there is no evidence to suggest that such cleaning is harmful.
The EPA does not recommend that air ducts be cleaned routinely, but only when necessary. However, the EPA recommends that if you have a furnace, stove, or fireplace that burns fuel, it be inspected for proper functioning and maintained before each heating season to protect it against carbon monoxide poisoning.If you decide to clean your air ducts, take the same consumer precautions you would normally take when evaluating the competence and reliability of the service provider. Whether or not you decide to clean your home's air ducts, preventing water and dirt from entering the system is the most effective way to prevent contamination (see How to Prevent Duct Contamination). If you decide to clean your heating and cooling system, it's important to ensure that the service provider is committed to cleaning all components of the system and is qualified to do so. In addition, the service provider can propose the application of chemical biocides, designed to remove microbiological contaminants, to the inside of the ducts and to other components of the system. Some service providers may also suggest applying chemical treatments (sealants or other encapsulants) to encapsulate or cover the inner surfaces of air ducts and equipment housings because they believe they will control mold growth or prevent the release of dirt particles or fibers from the ducts.
These practices have not yet been thoroughly researched and you must be fully informed before deciding to allow the use of biocides or chemical treatments in your air ducts. They should only be applied, if any, after the system has been properly cleaned of all visible dust or dirt. Knowledge about the potential benefits and potential problems of cleaning air ducts is limited. Since the conditions in every home are different, it's impossible to generalize about whether cleaning the air ducts in your home would be beneficial or not. On the other hand, if family members have unusual or unexplained symptoms or illnesses that you think could be related to your home environment, you should discuss the situation with your doctor. The EPA has published several publications as guidance on identifying potential indoor air quality problems and ways to prevent or solve them. You can consider cleaning the air ducts simply because it seems logical that they will become dirty over time and need to be cleaned from time to time.
While there is still debate over regular duct cleaning benefits, there is no evidence to suggest that such cleaning is harmful when done correctly. On the other hand, if a service provider doesn't follow proper procedures for cleaning air ducts, it can cause problems with indoor air quality. For example, an inadequate vacuum collection system can release more dust, dirt and other contaminants than if it had left them alone. A careless or inadequately trained service provider can damage your ducts or your heating and cooling system which could increase your heating and air conditioning costs or force you to make difficult and costly repairs or replacements. This is because much of the dirt that can accumulate inside air ducts adheres to their surfaces and does not necessarily enter living spaces. In addition, there is no evidence that a small amount of household dust or other particles in air ducts poses a health risk. The EPA does not recommend that air ducts be cleaned except when necessary because of continuing uncertainty about their benefits in most cases.
However, they recommend that if you have a furnace, stove or fireplace that burns fuel it should be inspected for proper functioning before each heating season in order to protect against carbon monoxide poisoning. Some research also suggests that cleaning dirty cooling coils fans and heat exchangers can improve efficiency of heating and cooling systems but there is little evidence indicating that simply cleaning their duct systems will do so. You can consider cleaning your home's air conditioning system's ducts simply because it seems logical they will become dirty over time and need regular maintenance from time to time. While debate continues over regular cleaning benefits there is no evidence suggesting such activity is harmful when done correctly. On contrary if a service provider doesn't follow proper procedures for cleaning them it can cause problems with indoor air quality. A careless technician can damage your system which could increase heating/cooling costs or force you into costly repairs/replacements. It's important to note dirty air conditioning system's ducts are just one possible source for particulate matter present in homes - contaminants entering through outdoor/indoor activities like cooking/cleaning/smoking/moving around can cause greater exposure than dirty AC system's ducts. In addition there's no evidence small amount of household dust/other particles pose health risk - EPA doesn't recommend routine cleaning except when necessary due continuing uncertainty about their benefits in most cases. However they recommend inspecting furnace/stove/fireplace burning fuel before each heating season for proper functioning & protection against carbon monoxide poisoning - some research suggests cleaning components like cooling coils/fans/heat exchangers can improve efficiency & reduce emissions but little evidence indicates simply cleaning their systems will do so. If you decide on having your home's AC system's ducts sealed take same consumer precautions when evaluating competence & reliability of service provider - ensure they're committed to cleaning all components & qualified for doing so - consider applying chemical biocides designed for removing microbiological contaminants & chemical treatments like sealants/encapsulants for controlling mold growth & preventing release of dirt particles/fibers from them but only after properly cleaning visible dust/dirt - discuss any unusual/unexplained symptoms with doctor - read EPA publications for identifying potential indoor air quality problems & ways for preventing/solving them.