Nor do studies conclusively show that the particle (for example,. Indoor Air Pollution · Guide to Indoor Air Quality · Printable Version An Official U.S. Government Website. gov A.
gov belongs to an official government organization in the United States. Knowledge about cleaning air ducts is in its early stages, so a general recommendation cannot be offered on 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.
This is because much of the dirt from the air ducts adheres to the surfaces of the ducts and does not necessarily enter the living space. It is important to note that dirty air ducts are just one of many possible sources of particulate matter that are present in homes. Contaminants that enter the home from both outdoor and indoor activities, such as cooking, cleaning, smoking, or simply moving around, can cause greater exposure to pollutants than dirty air ducts. In addition, there is no evidence that a small amount of household dust or other particles in the air ducts poses any risk to your health.
If any of the conditions identified above exist, it usually suggests one or more underlying causes. Before any cleaning, adaptation or replacement of your ducts, the cause or causes must be corrected or, otherwise, the problem is likely to recur. Some research suggests that cleaning heating and cooling system components (for example,. However, there is little evidence that cleaning just the ducts will improve system efficiency.
You may consider cleaning the air ducts simply because it seems logical that the air ducts become dirty over time and be cleaned from time to time. As long as cleaning is done correctly, there is no evidence to suggest that such cleaning is harmful. 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 operation and serviced before each heating season to protect against carbon monoxide poisoning.
If you decide to have your air ducts cleaned, take the same consumer precautions that you would normally take when evaluating the competence and reliability of the service provider. Whether or not you decide to clean the air ducts in your home, preventing water and dirt from entering the system is the most effective way to prevent contamination (see How to Avoid Duct Contamination). If you decide to clean your heating and cooling system, it is important to ensure that the service provider agrees to clean 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, inside ducts and in 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 fully investigated and you should be fully informed before deciding to allow the use of biocidal products 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 air duct cleaning is limited.
Since the conditions in each home are different, it is impossible to generalize whether cleaning the air ducts in your home would be beneficial or not. On the other hand, if family members are experiencing unusual or unexplained symptoms or illnesses that you think may be related to your home environment, you should discuss the situation with your doctor. EPA has published the following publications for guidance on identifying potential indoor air quality problems and ways to prevent or address them. While the debate over the value of regular duct cleaning continues, there is no evidence to suggest that such cleaning is harmful, provided it is done correctly.
On the other hand, if a service provider does not follow proper duct cleaning procedures, duct cleaning can cause indoor air problems. For example, an inadequate vacuum collection system can release more dust, dirt and other contaminants than if you had left the ducts alone. A careless or poorly trained service provider can damage your ducts or heating and cooling system, possibly increasing your heating and cooling costs or forcing you to perform difficult and costly repairs or replacements. This is because much of the dirt that can accumulate inside the air ducts adheres to the surfaces of the ducts and does not necessarily enter the living space.
In addition, there is no evidence that a small amount of household dust or other particulates in the air ducts poses any health hazard. The EPA does not recommend that air ducts be cleaned except as necessary due to ongoing uncertainty about the benefits of duct cleaning in most circumstances. Some research also suggests that cleaning dirty cooling coils, fans, and heat exchangers can improve the efficiency of heating and cooling systems. However, there is little evidence that simply cleaning the duct system will increase the efficiency of your system.
If you think duct cleaning may be a good idea for your home, but you're not sure, talk to a professional. The company that serves your heating and cooling system can be a good source of advice. You can also contact professional duct cleaning service providers and ask them about the services they provide. Remember that they are trying to sell you a service, so ask questions and insist on getting complete and knowledgeable answers.
A thorough visual inspection is the best way to verify the cleanliness of your heating and cooling system. Some service providers use remote photography to document conditions inside ducts. All parts of the system must be visibly clean; it must not be able to detect any debris with the naked eye. Show Consumer Checklist After Cleaning to Service Provider Before Work Begins.
After you complete the job, ask the service provider to show you each component of the system to verify that the job was successful. Whether or not you decide to clean your home's air ducts, it's essential to commit to a good preventive maintenance program to minimize duct contamination. There should be no moisture in the ducts. Controlling humidity is the most effective way to prevent biological growth in air ducts.
You may be familiar with air ducts that are made of sheet metal. However, many modern residential air duct systems are constructed of fiberglass panels or sheet metal ducts that are lined on the inside with a fiberglass duct liner. Since the early 1970s, there has been a significant increase in the use of flexible ducts, which are usually lined internally with plastic or some other type of material. Experts agree that moisture should not be present in the ducts, and if there is moisture and dirt, there is a possibility that biological contaminants will grow and spread throughout the house.
Controlling humidity is the most effective way to prevent biological growth in all types of air ducts. Air duct cleaning service providers can tell you that they need to apply a chemical biocide inside the ducts to kill bacteria (germs) and fungi (mold) and prevent future biological growth. Some duct cleaning service providers may propose to introduce ozone to remove biological pollutants. Ozone is a highly reactive gas that is regulated in outdoor air as a lung irritant.
However, there remains considerable controversy over the necessity and wisdom of introducing chemical biocides or ozone into pipelines. While some low-toxic products may be legally applied while the occupants of the house are present, you may want to consider leaving the premises while applying the biocide as an additional precaution. Manufacturers of products marketed to coat and encapsulate duct surfaces claim that these sealants prevent dust and dirt particles inside air ducts from being released into the air. As with biocides, a sealant is often applied by spraying it into the operating duct system.
Laboratory tests indicate that materials introduced in this way tend not to completely cover the surface of the duct. The application of sealants may also affect the acoustic (noise) and fire retardant characteristics of ducts lined or constructed with fiberglass and may invalidate the manufacturer's warranty. Most organizations dealing with duct cleaning, including EPA, NADCA, NAIMA and the National Association of Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors (SMACNA), currently do not recommend the routine use of sealants to encapsulate contaminants in any type of duct. Cases where the use of sealants to encapsulate duct surfaces may be appropriate include repair of damaged fiberglass insulation or when combating fire damage within ducts.
Sealants should never be used on wet duct lining, to cover actively growing mold or to cover debris in ducts, and should only be applied after cleaning in accordance with NADCA or other appropriate guidelines or standards. Office of Radiation and Indoor Air Division of Indoor Environments (6609J) 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N, W. While duct cleaning operations may insist that duct cleaning is essential to your health, the evidence does not support their claims. Companies that perform duct cleaning often advertise health benefits or suggest that duct cleaning will lower your energy bills by improving the efficiency of your system.
Some ads even use language such as “Studies have shown. but there is no data to support these claims. Even if your ducts are dirty, cleaning them probably won't provide any measurable benefit. In fact, the little independent research done on duct cleaning indicates that the process removes so much dust that it creates a bigger problem than it solves.
In certain situations, duct cleaning reduces harmful pollutants in the air you breathe, but, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it may not make a noticeable difference in homes that don't have an identifiable duct system problem. Duct cleaning has become popular in recent years, with commercial cleaning services popping up everywhere. But is the service worth it or is it a scam? The following information will help you decide if your home could benefit from cleaning your home's HVAC ducts. So how often should you clean the air ducts? Simply put, only as often as there is a serious problem, such as the presence of mold in the air ducts, which can cause mold spores to enter the living areas of your home.
Carpets, upholstery, and curtains can contain higher levels of dust particles, and simply walking around the room can generate more dust than the small amount that comes from air ducts. The EPA takes a similar stance on the issue, recommending cleaning only if the ducts and the HVAC unit are contaminated. If sufficient dirt and moisture are allowed to enter the duct system, there may be no significant difference in the rate or degree of microbial growth in the internally lined or bare sheet metal ducts. The EPA recommends that if you choose to use duct cleaning services, only use it on ducts made of solid sheet metal.
If you have a home warranty, providing HVAC maintenance is important to your efficiency, but doing a tune-up will provide better results than cleaning your air ducts. Always ask for a second opinion if an air duct cleaner claims to have found mold and then gives you a very high estimate for removing it. In addition, cleaning your air ducts can remove visible areas of mold; however, unless you discover and address the root cause of mold, you may find yourself fighting the same battle again in the future. .