Having your air ducts cleaned is probably not the first thing that jumps to mind when you think of important home maintenance tasks. But it’s a possibility you should consider, and strongly.
Before you go looking for a company that can do the job, however, you should be prepared for a bit of sticker shock. A good, thorough cleaning by a trained and certified professional can run you anywhere from $300 to $500, depending on the size of the job.
So is it really worth it to spend that much money to have your air ducts cleaned? In most cases the answer is yes, but let’s explore the question a little more deeply so you can make up your own mind …
Why Dirty Air Ducts Are Not Your Friend
Over time dust, debris and mold can build up inside your HVAC air circulation system. According to research from the American Society of Health, Refrigerator and Air Conditioning Engineers, dirty coils and excessive clogging of blowers and ductwork can reduce heating and air conditioning performance by as much as 40 percent. This means exorbitant utility costs and ever-accelerating stress and strain on sensitive HVAC equipment that might break down if not properly maintained.
But decreased efficiency is not the only problem. When air ducts are polluted it means the air in your home or business will be polluted, too. Unseen micro-particles will pour out of air vents in an unending cascade, causing allergic reactions and inflaming respiratory disorders. You may blame sky-high pollen counts for your family’s sneezing, itching and runny noses, never realizing your HVAC system is spewing out contaminants that are ruining the air quality in your home.
To prevent this unpleasant development, the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) recommends you have your air ducts cleaned once every three-to-five years. More frequent cleanings may be called for if you live in a location with significant air pollution, have known allergies, have been remodeling your home or haven’t had it the procedure performed since moving into your home.
You Get What You Pay For
For a small fee honest contractors will do an assessment of your air ducts first, to make sure you really need a cleaning. You should only consider hiring companies that belong to the NADCA, and you’ll want to check to see if they’re registered to perform this activity in your state and/or city. It’s also a good idea to check with the Better Business Bureau to make sure no complaints have been filed against them.
Cut-rate operators are out there and if you give them a chance just to save a buck you will regret it. Incompetent work can damage your HVAC equipment and leave you with no choice but to pay for expensive repairs or replacements.
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