Air Duct Cleaning Basics

Indoor air quality is something many of us don’t think about until we suspect a problem, perhaps because of a foul odor or an increase in sneezing and itchy eyes when the HVAC is running.

Without such reminders, we may go years without wondering about the air we’re breathing indoors. But that doesn’t mean the air is clean. In fact, the air in even the most spotless homes may be only as clean as the homes’ air ducts.

Air ducts, often called the lungs of a home, are invisible to the inhabitants but still vital to a home’s functioning. Hidden behind drywall or under the floor we’re walking on, air ducts carry warm air from our HVAC system to us in the winter and cool air from the same system in the summer. They also carry the air in a home’s rooms back to the HVAC system for re-heating or re-cooling, and filtering.

What is Air Duct Cleaning?

Duct cleaning removes particles that can build up over time in an air duct-particles such as dust, pollen from flowers planted outside, mold that grew during the last heavy rain when the roof leaked, allergens and fur from family pets or unwanted rodents, and so on.

Dirty air ducts are one of the main culprits that release particles in your indoor air, so having your air ducts inspected is a good idea if you suspect a problem. Cleaning when performed properly, begins with an inspection.

A professional certified by the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) will first inspect your home and ducts, possibly testing the air in your home for particles, to get an overall idea of how the ducts may be affecting the quality of your indoor air.

If he finds a problem, he can clean your vents and ducts with special scrub brushes, other dirt-loosening equipment, and large hoses that suck the loosened dirt and grime out of your home and into a secure container for safe disposal. He also can come up with a plan of action to help prevent future air quality problems. air duct cleaning

Is Mold a Special Case When Air Duct Cleaning?

Mold spores (sort of like mold seeds) grow in environments that are wet and humid, so if you suspect your vents and air ducts have become wet, because of high humidity in your home or perhaps a leak somewhere, consider having the air and/or dirt in your ducts tested for mold.

Remember, however, that the mere existence of mold is not necessarily a health concern. Mold is and always has been a fact of life. We breathe mold spores in outdoor air every day.

So, what is a mold problem? The answer depends in part on who is asking, because some people, including the very young, adults with compromised immune systems, and people with mold allergies may be more sensitive to mold growth and may experience health problems as a result.

In general, however, the indoor air quality industry has established standards regarding “acceptable” and “elevated” mold spore counts in indoor air.

If you want your air ducts to be tested for mold, make sure you hire an NADCA-certified inspector to take samples of the air and dirt in your air ducts and deliver those samples to a lab that specializes in mold testing.

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