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Furnace Duct Cleaning: Pros and Cons

Debating if furnace duct cleaning is worth it?

Well, the EPA recommends that you only have your ducts cleaned if you see:

  1. Mold growth in your ducts
  2. Rodents or insects coming from your vents
  3. Excessive amounts of dust blowing out of supply vents

See these signs? Then you absolutely need to have your furnace ducts cleaned as soon as possible.

Don’t see the signs but wondering if you should still have your ducts cleaned for peace of mind? We’ll help you make an informed decision on whether or not to have your furnace ducts cleaned.

Read on for a breakdown of furnace duct cleaning pros and cons...

Think you need a duct cleaning? Give us a call, and we’d be happy to help you schedule an appointment with one of our trusted technicians. They’ll visit your home and help you decide if you actually need a duct cleaning.

Furnace duct cleaning cons

1. Your air filter(s) (should) already keep dust out of your ducts

If you don’t see mold, insects/rodents or excessive dust coming from your vents then you may not need a duct cleaning.

Here’s why: Your heating/cooling system has air filters that keep dust away from your heat exchanger (furnace) and evaporator coils (air conditioner) and reduce dust from entering your ducts and blowing back into your house.

So, as long as you regularly change your filters, you’re probably okay without a duct cleaning. On the other hand, if you don’t regularly change your air filters, have a professional inspect your ducts for excessive dust buildup.

Dust contains dead skin cells, animal dander, pollen, dirt and even insect parts—so it's not something you want floating around your home's air or clogging up your furnace system.

If you’ve recently bought a home and are not sure the previous owners regularly changed the filters, it’s a great time to have your ducts cleaned and your system tuned up.

2. You risk damage to your ducts, if you don’t hire the right contractor

If you hire a careless contractor, a duct cleaning could bring more harm than good to your ducts.

Most contractors use long vacuum tubes to suck up the dust from your ductwork. If the contractor isn’t careful, they can damage the interior of the ducts, which could create leaks or holes. But if the contractor is careful, these long vacuum tubes won’t cause any harm and they’ll clean your pipes efficiently.

So if you do need a duct cleaning, we recommend you follow the EPA’s guidelines for choosing a contractor:

  • Do not be fooled by service contractors who guarantee health benefits from a duct cleaning. Like we mentioned above, research doesn’t support that claim definitively.
  • Check with the Phoenix Better Business Bureau (BBB) to see if any consumers have complained about the company.
  • Arizona requires contractors to have a special license for duct cleaning, so make sure they can prove they’re licensed.

Beware of contractors who don’t meet those requirements because they could be scamming you (i.e. charging you for a duct cleaning, but not cleaning them properly).

Furnace duct cleaning pros

1. Duct cleaning could improve health and hygiene

The keyword here is “could”. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that no research has proven definitively if duct cleaning prevents health problems.

However, the argument that duct cleaning improves indoor air quality is a strong one. If your air ducts are clean, your home’s air is cleaner. And improved air quality can reduce your risk of indoor health problems, especially if someone in your home has asthma or other respiratory illnesses.

2. Duct cleaning can improve your AC and Heating efficiency

Cleaning away dirt and debris in HVAC components (which happens during duct cleaning) will improve the efficiency of your HVAC system.

Think about it—less debris in your system means your system has to strain less to blow warm or cool air into your home. And when your furnace doesn’t have to overexert itself to warm your home, you spend less money on monthly heating bills.

Read our related article for more info: 3 Sure-Fire Signs You Should Have Your Air Ducts Cleaned

What goes into a duct cleaning?

When a professional cleans your ducts, he or she will vacuum out dust and debris from your home’s ductwork, but they’ll also clean HVAC components like…

  • The heat exchanger
  • Air handler blower
  • Grilles and diffusers
  • The ducts that connect to the air handler
A diagram of residential heating system components

Components cleaned in your heating/cooling system by a professional. Source.

Basically, the contractor will clean any place where dust and debris can settle in your HVAC system.

Note: Some contractors may recommend ozone or chemical biocides to kill bacteria or mold growth, but these solutions can be hazardous to human health if not used properly. If you have mold, you should contact a certified mold remediation specialist. If the duct cleaning contractor suggests chemical biocides to kill bacteria, make sure they follow EPA regulations on using chemical biocides before they perform any treatments in your ducts. George Brazil Air Conditioning & Heating does not apply ozone or chemical biocides inside the ducts.

Think you need a duct cleaning in Phoenix?

Just contact us online or give us a call. We’ll double-check to make sure you need a duct cleaning and we’ll help you schedule an appointment with one of our certified technicians.