What Are The Benefits Cleaning Air Ducts?

ByMarc Silberberg


Homeowners in the U.S. have heard about furnace and duct cleaning but never truly understood its benefits. They seem to associate vent duct cleaning just like any other home cleaning service such as cleaning carpets, cleaning floors, cleaning siding, or cleaning gutters. However in reality, it’s a very poor comparison. The air ducts in a home are similar to a human’s respiratory system. If a person is not getting the proper ventilation (i.e. oxygen) they will need to go on a respirator. Unfortunately, our families have become aware of this during the coronavirus pandemic as many COVID-19 patients were in dire need of oxygen treatment. 

Similarly our heating and cooling systems need the proper ventilation in order to function properly. Any impediments within the duct work will hamper the system performance. Since that’s the case, it’s important to get a clear picture as to why homeowners will hire only the best air duct cleaning services to clean their home’s air ducts. At the same time, both residential and commercial owners should understand the primary benefits of keeping your air vents clean.

It’s Simple “They Get Dirty” (National Air Duct Cleaners Association)

According to NADCA, the primary reason as to why one should have their duct work cleaned is because over the course of time they will accumulate dirt. That dirt will then get pushed back into the conditioned space and create a noticeable film of dust by the vent registers. This type of dirt can be quickly vacuumed up but what about the dust that goes airborne? You probably will never notice it unless you’re allergic to dust but in truth the dust and dirt will continue to recirculate throughout the living space.

Oddly enough, people would never think that a newly constructed house would require a home ventilation cleaning. As a newly built home is constructed many of the building materials like sheetrock and wood boards need to be cut and maneuvered into position. This will generate lots of dust, dirt, and wood particles that get airborne and can get into the homes venting. Even when basic laminate flooring is installed, the installer will need to make cuts on a portable table saw that will generate a lot of wood dust. They will do their best and position a fan in the room but some of the saw dust will remain in the home. Cleaning the air conditioner ducts will safely remove any external particles that came about during the construction of one’s home.

Though unverified, Hughes Environmental claims that the average home in the United States will generate 40 lbs. of dust each year. An air duct cleaning company Stanley Steemer, claims that forty-thousand dust mites can live in just one ounce of dust. That’s potentially 640,000 dust mites per year. You hope that your vacuum will take care of that but unfortunately that’s not the case. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, dust particles can range from 0.02 to more than 100 microns. Just to give you an idea as to what is a micron, one micron is approximately 0.00004 inches. That’s very very small and there is a good chance that dust particles will get into the ductwork of your home and over the course of time begin to accumulate. 

Mold Around Air Conditioning Vents

Besides for mold building up around the outside of your air conditioner vents, mold can build within the ductwork of your HVAC system. Homeowners might be surprised to know that mold can actually grow within the air ducts of your home. This is pretty amazing be it that there is a constant flow of air all throughout the year. Yet for some reason mold can breed even in such an environment. If you ever had mold in your bathroom and tried to scrub it off with a scrub brush and mold and mildew cleaner, you would know that it’s quite a feat. The mold is not just surfaced based, it actually takes root. Two things that contribute to the presence of mold in your ductwork are moisture and warm air. This is more of a problem if you live in a climate where it’s very humid and that leads to moisture becoming trapped in your ducts. The build of moisture can create the perfect environment for mold build up that can breed particles that get blown back into the conditioned space. 

Even when your home is not in a humid climate, overworking the HVAC system in warmer climates can lead to over condensation resulting in the buildup of moisture in the ductwork. Typically the condensation should leave the system through the air conditioner drain line. But when the system is working very hard, the condensation build up can take place within the venting and ductwork. Mold on AC vents can be detected from the foul smell by where the air gets pushed into the home. This might be a vent in the ceiling or on the floor. Air duct mold cleaning can all be avoided by having your air ducts cleaned. It’s hard to determine how often one should have their air duct cleaned, but if the conditioned air space begins to smell it may be time to have a licensed air duct cleaning professional check it out. 

Clean Air Ducts Means Energy Efficiency

Keeping the air moving efficiently within your home’s ductwork allows the heating and cooling system to run energy efficiently. Every time your system powers up it’s using electricity. With proper air flow your residence will get conditioned quicker and when the set temperature is achieved the thermostat will turn the heating and cooling system down. The process is repeated all throughout the day over the course of 365 days a year. A better system performance will ultimately lead to lower energy bills keeping more money in your wallet. On the contrary, when your system needs to work harder to achieve the desired temperature, the result will be higher energy bills. The lifetime of your HVAC system will also be impacted according to how hard it’s working to achieve heating or cooling comfort. The shorter it takes to cool or heat your home the longer the life expectancy of your system; the longer it takes the shorter the life expectancy of your HVAC system.

Improving Indoor Air Quality

One of the primary benefits of having your air ducts cleaned is that it will improve the air quality in your home. This is especially important if your home plays host to individuals who are sensitive to poor air quality like children, the elderly, and those with asthma or allergies. There are many devices that can monitor the air quality in your home but people with allergies have a far more sophisticated system such as their eyes, nose, and throat (ENT). These senses will become irritated and lead to great discomfort and sometimes make it even hard to breathe. People who are allergic to dust will often have sneezing attacks, watery eyes, and runny noses. In chronic and more severe cases, like those with asthma, difficult breathing, chest tightness, and wheezing can come on if allergic to dust. According to NADCA, the air in a home can recirculate on average anywhere from five to seven times a day. If there are contaminants or allergens within your air ducts it can have a negative impact on the air quality in your home. Keeping ductwork and vents clear of dust, mold, and allergens will improve the air quality for all. 

Interestingly enough, the pollutants that lurk outdoors can come inside our homes. This can include anything from pet dander to the fumes which come out of gas powered automobiles. These particles can come together, go airborne, and travel into your home. The quality of air deteriorates and people’s breathing can be severely affected. It’s good to keep track of air quality reports prior to opening up the windows in your home. Besides for people fleeing from their homes in Orange county’s Silverado Canyon, many residents miles away from the California wildfires had to remain indoors due to the poor air quality from the smoke. It’s always a good idea to refresh the air in your home by opening the windows but make sure to keep a close eye on your neighborhood’s air quality report before doing so. The last thing you want is to invent those allergens and pollutants into your home.

Final Words

There are many benefits to sanitizing your air ducts that can have a positive impact on your HVAC systems performance and air quality in your home. Some homeowners will try to clean the air ducts on their own while others will choose to hire a local air duct cleaning company. Either way it’s important to understand what’s going on in your home’s ductwork prior to doing so. If you do feel like the air quality is poor you may want to get an evaluation from a licensed air duct cleaning professional. The folks in your home will thank you, especially those who are sensitive to pollutants and allergens.  

All Blog Articles

Get Free Estimate

Give us some info and we'll get right back to you with a quote


    How can we help?


    At NJ AIR QUALITY, we get excited every time the phone rings or another contact form is filled out. That’s because we LOVE what we do. And we look forward to doing it for YOU!