Why Should You Consider Cleaning The Air Ducts of a New Home

ByMarc Silberberg


With mortgage rates falling to a historic low of 2.65% it’s no surprise to hear of a declining supply in the housing market. People are moving out of big cities and looking to settle in more suburban neighborhoods. Just across the Hudson River in New Jersey, home prices have already risen by 21% over the prior year. All of this means that people are signing and closing on new homes faster than ever. People are looking to escape city life and settle in a home that can accommodate the COVID-19 afterlife.

Finally, you have settled on a new home in Northern New Jersey and a move in date has been scheduled. Your family is quite excited to get out of the quarantined lifestyle in Downtown Brooklyn and move into a 2,500 square foot home with a front and backyard. Being in the age of everything Google you search for “New Home Checklist” to which you find on the list “New Home Construction & Air Duct Cleaning”. The owner who you purchased the home from had made up with you that a cleaning service would come in the day prior to the move to do a thorough cleanup. So do the air ducts need to really be cleaned?

Air Duct Cleaning & New Construction

Moving into a new home with new construction can be very exciting. Newly stained floors, brand-new appliances, and the fresh scent of paint. But you might have been surprised by how just a week ago there was a film of dust on the new laminate flooring and saw shavings all over the shelves of the closet systems your contractor installed. New construction brings with it a big mess that the builder makes sure to clean up prior to the move-in. 

So, they did a fantastic job on whipping your home into shape and everything looks spic and span. Chances are that during the construction all the dust and debris got sucked into the ducts and you might be surprised to hear that you now have dirty air ducts. Yes, you have a newly constructed home and you will need to get those air ducts cleaned. Just take a look at the vent registers and look to see if there is a build up of dust. After all that sawing and sanding, particles go airborne and are sucked into the return vents and get recirculated every time the HVAC system goes on. 

It’s best to schedule an HVAC duct cleaning prior to moving into the newly constructed home to allow the air duct cleaning professionals to get easy access to all the vents. In addition, depending on the type of equipment they use and how much dust is in the vents, you may get a minimal amount of dust blown into the living area. Every NADCA certified cleaner will use the technique that works for them and it’s a lot easier to clean the home’s vents when no one is home. At the same time, the air pressure machines can make a lot of noise and could be unpleasant to be around if you’re sensitive to sound. 

Air Duct Cleaning & New Existing Homes

Purchasing an existing home might come with some excitement which is why most homeowners will first have a thorough inspection done prior to closing. The home inspector usually checks the outdoor structure and anything that is related to the normal function of a home. Outside of that other things like working appliances are likely to be all on you. Now, why would you need to clean your air ducts of this existing home? According to most air duct cleaning companies, the ducts of a home should be cleaned once every four years. Chances are that the four years has already passed and it could be even if the owner did have the air ducts cleaned within that time they might have done it by themselves. Having a professional air duct cleaning company is crucial not only for the actual duct cleaning process but also to make sure that the ducts don’t get damaged during the actual duct cleaning. Most HVAC installers will use flexible aluminum foil duct that can easily be perforated damaging the duct. This will reduce the air flow capacity and result in parts of your home not receiving the proper amount of conditioned air to cool or heat that specific room.

Another reason to have the central air duct cleaning done is because you simply want to start off in your new home with 100% fresh air. Yes, the air from previous owners will take on a certain smell depending on their lifestyle. This is especially true with smokers that had quit smoking for many years or even if they just smoke outside the home. The stench will seep into their clothes and ultimately get into the air flow of the home’s HVAC system. Prior to everyone losing their sense of smell due to COVID-19, did you ever notice that when you walked into someone’s home it had a certain smell? All homes will take on a certain scent depending on the consistency of those smell types getting injected into the home’s air space. Cleaning your ducts will get rid of the old stale air and allow for new fresh air to recirculate through the home.

Existing Homes With Lots Of Carpet

People like installing carpet because it is generally more economical than hard flooring. In addition, many homeowners like the warmth it brings during the cold winter months. Just this morning it was 22° outside and it was good to step on a nice plush carpet. On the other side, someone stepping onto a cold wood floor might find it a bit uncomfortable and opt to have their cozy slippers nearby instead of bare footing the cold flooring. Existing homes with lots of carpet will generate significantly more dust then hard flooring. The dust tends to get trapped within the carpet fibers and goes airborne when kicked and might end up in your air ducts. One can always get a sense of what’s going on in one’s duct work by looking at the registers on the walls or floor. If there’s a film of dust on a register or grill, chances are that there is dust in your ducts too.  

Besides dust getting trapped between the carpet fibers there are other unwanted particles like allergens, mold, and pet dander that can get stuck there. Even with the best vacuum it’s impossible to pick up all these unwanted particles that eventually go airborne and impact those who are sensitive to them. It’s very hard for such people to accept that it may very well be their conditioned air which is sparking their allergies. Most people who go to the doctor for allergies and want a simple solution like medicine to get rid of the discomfort. No one is telling you what to do and it is always best to follow a doctor’s orders of treatment but getting rid of the carpet might just help you more than the pill your doctor prescribes you. (Everyone’s allergies are different and how they respond to carpet removal can vary. Some it might help while others it might not help at all, this is merely a suggestion and by no means is the author in position to diagnose and treat).

Final Words

Just last week I had an inspector by the name of Larry Johnson from NJNG come down to my home to inspect my newly installed furnace. This is part of the process of getting approved to receive an interest free loan from NJNG The Save Green Project. While he was there he took note of the dust build up on the vent grills. He asked if I ever had my air ducts cleaned prior to moving into the home. Instead of answering with a flat out no, I asked if it was really necessary. Larry said the following “Even if your air ducts are clean you want to make sure that the air from the old home owner gets cleaned out. When moving into a new home you want it to be breathing fresh and not stale air”. 

Though it’s not required, some professionals will recommend it from a hygienic point of view. You want to begin living in your new home knowing that the air you are breathing is new and clean. In addition, there is a good chance of a buildup of dust in your duct work which you want to get rid of. The excitement of moving into a new home will often overshadow the important things like getting your air ducts cleaned. Ultimately each homeowner will choose if it’s important to them or not. Some might put it on the laundry list of other tasks to do in the home. Whatever it is make sure that it goes on the list and eventually you get it taken care of by a NADCA certified air duct cleaning specialist. Enjoy your new home and neighborhood and good luck.

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