In most homes, NADCA recommends having air ducts cleaned every 3-5 years as part of routine home maintenance. Some situations that may prompt more frequent or immediate cleaning would include having pets in the home who shed large amounts of fur or dander, construction or remodeling work, smoke or fire damage, water damage, having occupants with respiratory sensitivities, replacing the HVAC system, or before moving into a new home.

If you’ve been in your home for 5 years or more, and you’ve never had it done, it’s time! You may also notice some of the following signs:

  • dust, dirt, or grime on your vents
  • excessive debris in the filter at regular changes
  • burning smell when first switching to heat
  • excessive dust in your home
  • feeling an increase in allergy symptoms while inside your home.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the cost air duct cleaning typically ranges from $450 to $1000 per heating and cooling system, depending on the services offered, size of the system, accessibility, region, level of contamination, and type of duct material. Services that fall below this price point are often being performed by “blow-and-go” operations, using substandard techniques and equipment being operated by poorly trained staff. These companies are a not an accurate representation of the industry, and we encourage reporting such business practices to the Better Business Bureau. Everyone wants to get the best price possible, but sometimes, sadly, a good deal really is too good to be true.

Making sure that you select a company that you can trust is critical with HVAC system and air duct cleaning, as with any service for which it is difficult to readily verify results. Make sure that any company you consider contracting for HVAC system and air duct cleaning is reputable. Some things to consider:

  • Look for members of NADCA who are active and in good standing.
  • Verify that the company has been in business long enough to establish a track record.
  • Request references from friends, neighbors or your HVAC company.
  • Verify proper licensing and insurance.
  • Avoid low-ball gimmicks and promotions.
  • Expect follow-up after the service.

While most NACDA-certified companies adhere to similar methods, there is always an element of creative problem solving involved in what we do. Maybe your system is in a very tight spot. Maybe it is extremely contaminated. Maybe you’ve dealt with asbestos or mold remediation. As with any business, HVAC system and air duct cleaning companies have varying thresholds on what they’re capable and willing to deal with. In most cases, we can find a solution to your challenging situation. Call us and speak to a member of our team to find out how we can help!

Not the answer you want to hear…but maybe both. 😬 Many times, we do not recommend cleaning very, very old residential units. Past a certain age, HVAC units, like any other mechanical equipment, can become very unreliable. The wiring inside, switches and other delicate components deteriorate over time, making it very difficult to clean those units with reliable results, especially if routine cleaning has not been kept up throughout the life of the unit. When it comes time to replace that very, very old unit, we DO recommend cleaning as part of the changeout so that your nice, clean, brand-new unit is connected to nice, clean ductwork!

The most common contaminant found in HVAC systems is dust—made up of fibers from clothing and soft surfaces, dead skin, hair, dead insect particles, soil, pollen, bacteria, and dust mites. YUCK!! We routinely dust and clean the visible surfaces in our environment to remove the dust—but what about all the surfaces we can’t see? The average home has anywhere from 150 to 500 linear feet of ductwork, all hidden from view! Take a look at some of the benefits of HVAC system and duct cleaning and tips on how to know when it’s time! View our gallery to see some of the more interesting things we’ve found!

While this may sound appealing, be cautious of companies making sweeping claims about “sanitizing” or “disinfecting” all ductwork as part of their service. Any chemicals used inside HVAC systems should be EPA registered for the specific purpose and application for which they are being used. To date, the EPA has not registered any products for sanitizing or disinfecting ductwork, nor have any fungicides been registered for use inside ductwork. This means that any company using these types of chemicals inside ductwork is doing so in a manner that’s inconsistent with the product’s labeling and intended use. Not only is this a violation of federal law, but it can also be harmful to your HVAC system and the occupants of the building. See more in NADCA’s White Paper on Chemical Applications. These types of claims are often an indicator that you are dealing with a company that does not adhere to best practices and industry standards. Proceed with caution!

You should reasonably expect service to take from 3-5 hours per system, depending on a variety of factors. During that time, the technicians will need access to each air handler unit being cleaned along with all supply and return vents for that unit. Technicians will be entering and exiting each room of the conditioned space, removing and replacing vent covers for cleaning, using compressed air to clean duct lines, and tidying as they go. A large, powerful vacuum will be connected to the unit, either as a portable system near the unit location or connected by a large pipe to a vacuum system staged outdoors. The cleaning process is noisy and requires a great deal of access and movement throughout most spaces. Pets need to be secured or kept off-site during the HVAC system cleaning. In larger homes and spaces, occupants may be able to move away from the noise to find a quiet space. In other situations, planning for several hours of noise is required, which may include avoiding activities that would require a great deal of concentration or minimizing background noise (virtual school, working from home, Zoom calls, etc.). While we encourage homeowners or a responsible party to be available for the start and end of service at a minimum, we understand if you prefer to move to a quieter location for a time. While the noise is no reason for concern, adequate planning is the key to a pleasant service experience! For more details, visit our process page or give our office a call!

Both types of units are extremely common among reputable companies, and NADCA does not recommend one type of system over the other. At Air Quality Systems, all our vacuum systems are portable—either gas-powered units designed to be staged outdoors, or electric units that can safely and effectively be operated indoors. We have found that this combination of units allows us the maximum amount of versatility to tackle any type of job.

NADCA stands for the National Air Duct Cleaners Association, the global trade association for HVAC inspection, cleaning, and restoration. NADCA members must meet and maintain strict guidelines for certification, training, cleaning standards, and adhering to the Code of Ethics. Vetting an air duct cleaning company through NADCA helps you ensure that you’re dealing with a reputable company—not just a “blow-and-go”.

Regular cleaning of your HVAC system and air ducts can produce benefits for your health as well as your wallet! Contaminants such as mold, fungi, bacteria, and fine dust particles all accumulate in HVAC systems over time. Removing the source of contamination (known as “source removal” – the most effective method for air duct cleaning) is the first step to improving indoor air quality and mitigating related impacts to your overall health. Additionally, removing this buildup of contaminants from delicate components may also improve the system’s efficiency. Clean, efficient systems are less likely to consume excess energy, show premature wear, require repairs, or break down, generally lasting longer and performing more effectively than dirty systems.

In some cases, it is possible to get the desired results by cleaning just one area of a large space or to clean the space in phases. For example, if there was damage to the system in just one area, or if there is one area or system that gets dirty much faster than the others, (i.e. the system serving the kennel area of a veterinarian’s office) the whole space may not need cleaning at the same time. Depending on the cause for concern, previous cleanings, and the layout of the systems serving the space, it may be possible to accomplish your goals by cleaning the HVAC systems and air ducts serving only a fraction of the space. Give us a call to see how we can help!

One of the most overlooked components of a thorough maintenance program is routine deep cleaning of coils. We get numerous calls from facilities hoping to restore the performance of coils that have become severely impacted with years of buildup. Many times, with repeated deep cleanings, we’re able to save these coils, but maintenance is the key to prevention—which is always better than the cure. If you’re looking for ways to minimize repairs, downtime, energy consumption, and premature wear on large systems, ask us about preventative coil cleaning as part of your maintenance program!

Replacement of commercial HVAC units is an expensive endeavor, indeed. While every unit will eventually reach the end of its useful life, measures can be taken to extend the lifespan. Many times, replacing or applying a coating to the insulation inside the unit and associated ductwork, deep cleaning the coil, and / or refurbishing the drain pan along with routine cleaning can bring a unit back to life, pushing the timeline on replacement further out. If you have a unit being considered for replacement, call us first!