get asked all the time from people “Do I need to get my ducts cleaned”. In a short answer yes your ducts should be cleaned at least once every 10-15 years.
If you are building a new house you need to request that your HVAC company cover all the openings in the system as they are installed so construction debris does not get into the ducts during normal construction. If the builder says “we cannot because we need the heat to continue to do the work”, the response from you should be. “Ok, you can use my system to heat the house during construction however when the job is finished you pay to have the ducts professionally cleaned and have the furnace blower pulled and cleaned”. When cleaning blowers on older homes I can tell if the house was built during the winter because the blower wheel will be coated with sheet rock dust and paint.
Ducts only need cleaned every 10-15 years. If you think about it the debris that gets into the supply or hot air registers has to try and vibrate its way into the ducts against the air stream. You can clean you supplies by using a vacuum. 1st take off the registers then stick the vacuum hose in and move it around as far as you can. Be Careful of the sheet metal screws sticking into the ducts they are very sharp. The return grilles can be removed and you can clean the first part of the returns also. The returns are where it gets ugly however this air must travel through your filter before it will get recirculated. Use a quality pleated air filter and you will catch the majority of this. Duct cleaning companies will tell you it should be done every 3 years or so. If they have never been cleaned get them done then get on the 10-15 year sch. I worked on a house this week that had 2″ thick carpeting of dust and debris in the return ducting. The picture below is the filter I removed from there system. To there credit the house was really old and ducts had never been cleaned.
How to keep from getting scammed by duct cleaning companies. 1st check the companies out BBB, Angie’s List, local Chamber of Commerce, Consumer advocacy groups. Get referrals from other people and ask them how the company did the work. Ask them what the final cost was. Don’t go with the cheap companies that advertise that they will do it for under $200. If you only pay $200 or less you will get a pretty cheap job. The good companies should send out someone to look at the system and give you a price. If they don’t send someone out before they start cleaning be sure to agree on a price before they start the work. I once read an article about a duct cleaning company that always advertised the job to be under $200, there average ticket price at the end of the job was over $1200. Don’t let them up sell you. Good companies should give you before and after pictures for free. Be careful with disinfecting and sanitizing make sure the stuff they use is non toxic and will not harm you. We don’t need more chemicals floating around the houses. If they show you your blower wheel and explain it should be cleaned they should not charge more than $150.00 for this. This is extremely important. Make them show you there equipment and explain how it works. Make them show you the empty filters and bags before they begin and show it to you again when the job is finished. The scammers love to show up with the equipment already full then when they are done they show you all the stuff they got out of your system when it really came from someplace else. Unless the ducts are extremely dirty it will probably not save you any money on your utility bills however it might save you some money on your medical bills if you have someone living in your house with asthma, allergies or other respiratory illnesses.
Be prepared, do your homework and have them cleaned if needed.
Here is a great video of a company scamming an older lady that got caught.
After they have been clean be sure to use the proper size filter, use a good quality filter and replace it on time. This will help to keep your system clean and operating properly which will save you money and keep your ducts clean for years to come. If you are in question of how well your filter is working for you or don’t think it is installed properly, have a local HVAC company come out and look the furnace over and ask about the filter.
Back to sterilizing duct systems. We do sell a system sterilizer that will constantly sterilize your indoor air and using cold plasma. For more information on this type of system go to http://gpshvac.com . The plasma generator we use is GPS-2400. So now you can have hospital clean air in your own home.
Keep your Ducts in a row.