Air Ducts Cleaning

Source: SCHL

A hot air generator receives and distributes the air through a system of ducts. These are usually made of metal and are especially visible in the basement, where they are suspended from the floor joists. Return air ducts or ducts fresh air to carry the hot air generator air collected in the home, usually by a central facility. The main conduit is the great recovery rectangular duct which runs along the ceiling of the basement and is connected to the lower part of the furnace. The network of feed lines, or warm air ducts, starts with a main duct leading from the top of the furnace and is also fixed in the ceiling of the basement. The secondary conduits, circular or rectangular section smaller, sheet, branch off the main ducts and go in each room, where they end in a floor or wall register. Over time, dirt and debris accumulates within the ducts, especially in the return ducts. You might be if it is worth to clean the ducts ask.

Duct cleaning is an important economic activity. As a homeowner, it is possible that you are requesting that you clean your heating ducts on a regular basis. It is claimed that duct cleaning has the effect:

  • improve the quality of indoor air;
  • reduce the amount of mold and allergens in the home;
  • remove dust;
  • to improve the air flow and distribution of hot air;
  • reduce energy costs.

If you expect that clean your ducts produce the benefits described above, you may be disappointed. It is difficult to find objective and independent studies to support these claims.

What duct cleaning can bring you?

Thorough cleaning of ducts, carried out by experts, will remove dust and debris - pet hair, paper clips, children's toys or other objects - that have accumulated. In the best case, the inner surface of the pipes will be glittering with cleanliness after cleaning. Such cleaning can be justified if that matters to you is that the air circulating in your home through ducts that are as clean as the rest of the house. However, duct cleaning will not usually change the quality of the air you breathe, nor will improve airflow and reduce heating costs significantly.

As part of studies on duct cleaning carried out in the 1990s by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) 1, 2 and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA, the U.S. Agency for Protection environment) 3 were measured performance of homes and ducts before and after cleaning. Researchers have observed that minor or non-measurable differences in concentrations of suspended particles in the air of homes and airflow ducts after cleaning. This is explained by the fact that the ducts are only pathways of metal. They can not create dust. House dust is mainly composed of particles which are driven outside to inside or who enter through windows or other openings. "Dust" is also created by debris from skin and hair, pet hair, carpet fibers and clothing, bedding, DIY jobs, etc.. In fact, when you move into the house, you raise a cloud of dust particles wherever you go. There will always be dust in your home in one form or another, whether you do or not clean your ducts.

1 The effectiveness of cleaning ventilation ducts, Auger, Donnini Nguyen Inc. for CMHC, 1994.

2 Use of Biocides by Residential Duct Cleaners [Use of biocides by duct cleaners residential facilities - summary in French], Figley Consulting Associates for CMHC, 1994.

3 Should You Have the Air Ducts in Your Home Cleaned?, EPA, United States, 1997.

Occupants often expect a filter efficient furnace eliminates dust in the air. CMHC has measured the effectiveness of furnace filters in this regard. Although some very good filters effectively clean the air ducts, they do not create a dust free environment in your home, because of all the dust sources mentioned above. A good filter will help prevent the accumulation of dust in the coil of the air conditioner, the heat exchanger furnace and supply lines. For more information about filters, see the CMHC publication No. CF22, entitled "The filter in your furnace."

When it worth ducts cleaned?

Duct cleaning may be justified in many cases (although there is little research evidence to support).

If you are struggling with a problem of water infiltration in your ducts, mold can grow in them. If applicable, you must first solve the problem of water infiltration, and clean and disinfect the ducts where mold grew. Then make clean the entire ductwork. In some cases, it may be necessary or more economical to simply replace the affected sections.

If you move into a new house and you doubt the care provided by workers, it may be useful to clean the ducts. Plaster dust, pieces of fiberglass and sawdust have no place in the ducts. Cleaning them will sometimes identify objects as unusual as packages or cans of soda, which will be dropped or they will be discarded. For the same reasons, duct cleaning may be appropriate in older houses following major renovations.

If you are having problems with your air flow furnace, a duct cleaning could reveal significant blockages. Make your ducts cleaned before undertaking more expensive the replacement or modification of ductwork to solve this kind of problem. It has been shown that the cleaning elements of hot air generator and air conditioner (eg, the fan blowing hot air generator, the coil of the air conditioner, humidifier, the heat exchanger hot air generator, etc.). could make some difference in the air flow ducts.

If you take a look at the redo logs and you notice an accumulation of debris in the pipes just below, you may want to clean them. The CMHC study showed that the air ducts, which have a relatively large diameter and within which the air moves slowly, are usually much dirtier than the supply lines or blowing. You should be able to accomplish much of the work of cleaning the return air duct with a household vacuum cleaner, once you have removed the gate of the registry. For example, households that have pets with long hair or with young children may find it necessary to inspect the air ducts more often. However, do not expect an improvement in the flow of air or indoor air quality as a result of cleaning.

How ducts should be cleaned?

There are various methods of duct cleaning. Cleaners recognized conduits familiar with different techniques and the effectiveness of each. Those who are affiliated with a heating and cooling may be more able to provide a more comprehensive focus point of the installation. Check if the contractor is a member of a professional organization. It should also be able to provide the name of satisfied customers. Some contractors carry out a visual inspection of the ducts after cleaning, or by arranging an opening in the sheet metal to access the ducts, or by introducing a camera. Both methods allow to see to some extent the effectiveness of cleaning.

Never accept an offer which may make you cleaner spray pipes or "vaporize" the ducts after cleaning pretext to remove residual bacteria or mold. No product is currently approved in Canada under the Pest Control Products Act for duct cleaning in the home. Approved products are tested to determine their efficacy and safety in humans. A proper duct cleaning does not require the use of a biocide. According to existing studies, spraying biocides in all lines is not recommended if you want to maintain the quality of indoor air.

So ... Should we or not to clean his pipes?

The choice is yours. Duct cleaning can improve indoor air quality when there are serious problems with mold or blocking pipes. Thorough cleaning of all components of the hot air generator and air conditioning (blower and heat exchanger furnace, air conditioning coil, humidifier, ducts, etc..) Can promote circulation air in the house. However, regular duct cleaning is probably not justified in most cases.

Some people choose to clean the ducts simply because they believe they can not easily do the work themselves, and they prefer to regularly remove accumulations of dust and dirt in the house. It is important to ensure that all duct cleaning of the house does not include spraying of biocides throughout the network.