Welcome Home

Monday, September 27, 2010

Air Duct Cleaning- The difference between Hype and Health

Air duct cleaning is a big business. Homeowners are often inundated with solicitations from air duct cleaning services warning about the dangers of unhealthy Indoor Air Quality (IAQ). Asserting that regular furnace air duct cleaning will provide multiple benefits, including:

• Elimination or reduction of household allergens; such as mold, pollen, animal hair, and other contaminants.
• Improved IAQ.
• Elimination of house dust settling on furnishings.
• HVAC system energy improvement, resulting in lower fuel costs.
• Enhanced air flow for better heating and cooling.

According to research conducted by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) during the 1990s claims of dramatic improvements by cleaning ducts were exaggerated. Researchers found there was almost no measureable difference between the amount of airborne particles in ducts after cleaning.

Dust is always present in a home. Most dust gets tracked in or is created inside by human skin and hair shedding, pet debris and fibres from various sources such as carpet or clothing. Regardless of whether the ducts have been cleaned, there will always be a “cloud” of these various particlesin the home. A good quality air filter is therefor recommended to help keep air blown through the furnace fan and ductwork clean. Change air filters regularly according to manufacturers recommendations.

Valid Reasons for Air Duct Cleaning

Duct cleaning is recommended under some conditions:

• Newly constructed or renovated homes
• Large air ducts with a noticably slow air flow.
• When moisture intrusion in the air ducts has resulted in mold growth
• When ducting has been infested by rodents, insects or other vermin
• When a blockage or partial blockage has norticeably reduced air flow.

What to Look for in a Service Provider

There are different types of air ducts requiring different cleaning procedures as well as different cleaning products. An air duct cleaning service that works closely with an HVAC contractor will be knowledgable about the whole HVAC system.
A good duct cleaning contractor will be certified and belong to a trade association such as the National Air Duct Cleaning Association. (NADCA) They should provide thorough cleaning for all parts of the system, including cooling coils, drain pan, and the fan or blower compartment as well as fan or blower blades. Ask for references from satisfied customers.

They should perform a viual inspection after completion of the work.
Do not allow any company to apply disinfectant or biocide to the HVAC system by fogging or spray. No such products have been registered or approved under Canada’s Pest Control Products Act for duct cleaning purposes. Current research indicates that these products can be health risks.