The Truth About Duct Cleaning

We’ve never performed duct cleaning but we are often asked for our professional opinion. We decided to share this information with you in hopes it clears up some common misconceptions about this service.

Duct cleaning was first marketed about 20 years ago by HVAC companies who often sell it as a regular service, much like rug cleaning. Little was known about Indoor Air Quality back then but today, there’s much evidence to support the claim that “duct cleaning is very rarely needed.”


If your house is properly sealed, (see our page on the Whole House Solution) the ductwork is tight and you have a correctly sized HVAC system, your home should be continuously cleaned every time the AC, heat pump or furnace turns on. In other words, air flow should be sufficient to properly remove normal particulates from your indoor air and trap them in your filter. Now if you have leaky ducts (most systems leak about 40%) or you have outside air infiltration, you may have a problem with your indoor air quality. But this still has nothing to do with dirty ducts. Getting your ducts cleaned will not eliminate the source of the pollutants. Sealing air infiltration and repairing a leaky duct system, however, will eliminate the unhealthy sources. That’s why it’s smarter to have your home audited for these problems and then come up with a plan on how to reduce or eliminate them.

Now, let me mention the exceptions. If you have a home where mold is present, you’ve had a flood or fire recently or you’ve had unwanted animals making homes in your ductwork, attic, or crawlspace, you may need duct cleaning. However, eliminating the sources of these contaminants is still a factor. You must eliminate the unhealthy sources, seal the ducts and then clean the ducts. We also would then recommend a whole house filtration system such as the Aprilaire 5000 Electronic Air Cleaner to protect your newly cleaned home.

In summary? Most homes never need duct cleaning. If allergies, odors, and dust seem to be a problem, let us help you identify the sources and tailor a plan to create a healthy indoor environment for you and your family. Your ductwork may be drawing in dust from your attic or crawlspace or you may have outside air infiltration causing pollen to build up inside your home.

If you’d like more information, check out the EPA’s document on duct cleaning. Or simply give us a call at 770-271-7511. Our Whole House Solution makes a lot more sense!

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