If no one in your household suffers from allergies or unexplained symptoms or illnesses and if, after a visual inspection of the inside of the ducts, you see no indication that your air ducts are contaminated with large deposits of dust or mold (no musty odor or visible mold growth), having your air ducts cleaned is probably unnecessary. It is normal for the return registers to get dusty as dust-laden air is pulled through the grate. This does not indicate that your air ducts are contaminated with heavy deposits of dust or debris; the registers can be easily vacuumed or removed and cleaned.
On the other hand, if family members are experiencing unusual or unexplained symptoms or illnesses that you think might be related to your home environment, you should discuss the situation with your doctor.
You should consider having the air ducts in your home cleaned if:
- There is substantial visible mold growth inside hard surface (e.g., sheet metal) ducts or on other components of your heating and cooling system. There are several important points to understand concerning mold detection in heating and cooling systems.
- Many sections of your heating and cooling system may not be accessible for a visible inspection, so ask the service provider to show you any mold they say exists.
- You should be aware that although a substance may look like mold, a positive determination of whether it is mold or not can be made only by an expert and may require laboratory analysis for final confirmation. For an additional expense, air and sample surface testing can be performed to determine if the substance is mold for sure.
- If you have insulated air ducts and the insulation gets wet or moldy it cannot be effectively cleaned and should be removed and replaced.
- If the conditions causing the mold growth in the first place are not corrected, mold growth will recur.
- Ducts are infested with vermin (e.g. rodents and insects)
- Ducts are clogged with excessive amounts of debris and or/or particles are actually released into the home from your supply registers.
If you still have questions remaining in regards to if you should have your air ducts cleaned, contact a professional. In searching for any company to perform services at your home, make sure to check out their website for customer reviews/testimonials. Also, check their ratings from other sources such as the Better Business Bureau and Angie’s List. Make sure they are insured and certified to perform the work they are describing. Investing in the health of your family and home is crucial, therefore cleaning your air ducts is well worth the expense.