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How Do I Know if My Home’s Air Ducts Need Cleaning?

Here’s a simple question we see often: “How do I know if I need air duct cleaning?”

Look for these 2 main things:

  • Dust blowing out the supply vents
  • Vermin in your ducts

Let’s explain each of these in more detail.

We’ll also show you what to look for in an air duct cleaner.

Sign 1: Dust blowing out the supply grates

Air is blown into your home via the supply ducts and grates.


Supply grate with a lever.

It’s normal for these grates to get dusty. So don’t panic.

But if you see excessive amounts of dust blowing out these vents, then there may be heavy deposits of dust in the duct system and therefore it needs cleaning.

But let’s not jump to conclusions here.

Another possible cause of a supply vent blowing out dust is disconnected or leaky ductwork. If the disconnected or leaky ductwork is in an unconditioned dusty area like an attic, it will suck up the surrounding dust and other junk and blow it out the supply vents.

In this case, what you actually need is duct sealing.

Related: How Can I Tell if My Air Ducts are Leaking?

Sign 2: Vermin in your air ducts

An occasional dead bug in your ductwork isn’t anything to be concerned about.

An infestation of bugs and rodents is.

What to look for in an air duct cleaner

An air duct cleaner, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), should be one thing: thorough.

In their words:

“If you decide to have your heating and cooling system cleaned, it is important to make sure the service provider agrees to clean all components of the system and is qualified to do so. Failure to clean a component of a contaminated system can result in re-contamination of the entire system, thus negating any potential benefits.” (Emphasis ours.)

We make sure to clean your entire ventilation system, including your ducts, the blower and the evaporator coils. Here are a few before and after pictures of our work.

duct cleaning