Central Air Duct Cleaning FAQ

Cleaning your air ducts is a valuable part of overall home maintenance if done correctly and for the right reasons. Unfortunately, there is a lot of conflicting information online about home and industrial air duct cleaning, what it offers, and what it can do for you. With many companies making wide-sweeping claims about this service, it can be hard to know what to trust when researching. The lack of verified information can leave you with more questions than answers. 

Filterbuy sides with the EPA on duct cleaning facts, and we want you to feel confident when scheduling a service. As a homeowner, we believe it’s essential to know the truth behind industrial air duct cleaning. That’s why we’ve put together this list of the most common air duct cleaning questions. 

Air Duct Cleaning: Your Most Common Questions Answered

1. How Often Should You Clean Out Your Central Air Ducts?

Although many air duct cleaning companies recommend getting your ducts cleaned regularly, you should only have your ducts cleaned when they need it or if they have never had a cleaning before. The EPA also recommends duct cleanings in cases of mold, vermin, or recent home renovations. Any time you have ducts clogged with debris (enough to impact airflow), you should also schedule an inspection and cleaning to restore your indoor air quality. 

If the company you’re researching recommends an in-depth air duct cleaning weekly, monthly, or even quarterly, this is a sign to look for another trusted local company. It is important to make sure the servicer you hire is truthful, capable, and is not pressuring you into service without a proven reason.

2. When Is Air Duct Cleaning Necessary?

While it may not always be easy to tell, many signs indicate when your ducts need professional cleaning. If you notice a musty or rancid smell coming from your air vents, this may indicate an air duct infestation. Vermin and mold tend to make air ductwork their home, especially during cooler months. An unpleasant smell coming from your vents signals that you need to schedule a duct inspection immediately.

Additionally, if you notice visible debris or dirt spilling out from your air vents, it’s time to schedule a cleaning. You may see this debris in your vents as a sign that your ventilation system is clogged and negatively affecting your indoor air quality. While this can happen on its own in certain situations, excessive vent dust is most common after in-home renovation or construction.

3. Should I Clean My Ductwork Myself?

Attempting an air duct cleaning yourself is not advisable, and improper cleaning can lead to further duct problems. You run a greater risk of damaging your ducts if you do not use the proper and professional cleaning tools. If you damage your ducts - or yourself - during an amateur cleaning, it will cost you much more time, energy, and money than having hired a professional. 

Unprofessional cleanings also increase your chance of reinfestation. In cases where mold, vermin, or bacteria are involved, only professional-level tools, techniques, and anti-bacterial wash can successfully remove all traces of the infestation. In attempting to clean the ducts yourself, you may leave traces behind. The original mold growth or vermin could return shortly. It is vital to hire a knowledgeable air vents cleaning service for this reason.

Inside of modern, newly remodeled home.

4. Do I Need To Clean My Air Ducts After Home Remodeling?

After any home remodeling or construction, you should make an appointment to have your air ducts inspected and cleaned if needed. During a renovation project, your contractor should seal all air vents to prevent dust and debris from entering your air ducts. If the construction team forgets to seal them or the vents become unsealed during the project, debris can enter and clog up your duct system. 

If you notice dust or debris spilling from your air vents after a home renovation, chances are your ducts have been compromised and need to be professionally cleaned. In this scenario, it’s best to stop using your HVAC system (if possible) until you have it looked at by a technician to prevent it from further negatively impacting your indoor air quality.

5. Can Central Air Duct Cleaning Get Rid of Mold?

Due to the humid and warm environment that air ducts can produce, mold is a real concern when it comes to your HVAC system. Mold infestations in ductwork are more common than you may think, producing musty smells in your home and even releasing fungal spores into the air you breathe. If you want the mold in your air ducts completely removed, you should hire a professional with the right equipment.  

Trusted air duct cleaning services often use a mild antimicrobial bath on the affected areas of your ductwork. This solution kills the remaining spores and infestation residue from your system, helping to prevent the mold from regrowing in the same spot in the future. It is possible for the fungus to reappear, spread, and reinfect your ducts without this type of treatment. That’s why you should always leave air duct mold infestations to a trained local technician.

6. What Types of Infestations Can Air Ducts Have?

Air duct infestations typically consist of three types: vermin, mold, and insects. It is more common to find vermin infestations in cooler months when small rodents nest indoors. Mold infestations result from air duct humidity and can cause mold spores to spread into your home. Insect infestations involve cockroaches, wasps, and other pests and typically result from these insects crawling into air vents on the outside of your home. 

If you believe you have one of these infestations, reaching out to a trusted air vents cleaning service should be your first step. The professional tools and equipment that these services use are essential to fully cleaning the infected area and protecting your ducts for the future. 

7. Can I Use a Household Vacuum to Clean My Air Ducts?

While many online articles about DIY air duct cleaning may recommend using a regular vacuum cleaner, the truth is that attempting a cleaning with this household device could seriously hurt your ducts. Air ducts cleaning is an activity that, if done incorrectly, could damage your HVAC system. A household vacuum cleaner does not have the vacuum power or the design to fully clean your ducts, especially when the ducts are filled with debris. If you use a vacuum cleaner, you risk damaging your ducts and your wallet. 

Top air duct cleaning professionals use vacuuming equipment 5x the strength of a household vacuum cleaner to clean your system and remove debris. The design of these professional tools is ideal for getting into the hard-to-reach areas where duct blockages typically occur. If your ducts need to be cleaned, put down your vacuum cleaner, pick up the phone, and schedule an appointment with a trusted professional.

A grey vacuum and white shoes sit on a blue and white carpet.

8. Why Do My Ducts Smell Bad?

A bad smell emanating from air ducts can be a sign of a much bigger issue within your system. Infestation and mold are both reasons your air vents may smell rank or musty. In these cases, your duct will need cleaning with an antimicrobial solution to get your ducts clean and back in working order. 

If you are currently concerned about a smell coming from your air ducts, document the smell and other symptoms you are noticing. This way when you contact an air duct professional, you can give them as much information as possible to assist with their service plan. For more information about musty smell and other signs you need your air ducts cleaned, you can take a look at previous Filterbuy Local articles.

9. Will Air Duct Cleaning Leave a Mess In My Home?

As long as you hire a trustworthy professional, air duct cleaning services should not leave a noticeable or significant mess in your home. Capable technicians will bring the proper protective gear with them to ensure your home environment stays protected during the cleaning. If you are unsure about an air duct cleaning company, always ask about their home safety practices before agreeing to let them work on your ducts. The goal of an air duct cleaning service should be to improve your overall home cleanliness and indoor air quality, not negatively impact your living space.

10. How Long Does Central Air Duct Cleaning Take?

How long your air duct cleaning appointment will take depends on what is inside your ducts. Duct cleanings with more aspects to them, such as a pest infestation, mold overgrowth, or large debris blockage, will typically take a bit longer to clean. If you are concerned about how long your duct cleaning will take, talk with your air ducts cleaning provider to get an estimated average time for that service. Experienced duct cleaning technicians will keep you updated as the cleaning progresses and let you know if they encounter any complications.

11. Is Central Air Duct Cleaning a Landlord Responsibility?

Unless you have a previous agreement with your current landlord, there is often no direct answer to who is responsible for duct cleaning. Typically, the landlord and tenant discuss duct cleaning services on a case-by-case basis. The reasons behind the cleaning, as well as potentially dangerous infestations, may also factor into your landlord’s decision. 

In cases where you believe a duct cleaning is necessary, always contact your landlord and explain the situation. There may be an agreement they are willing to negotiate with you, even if duct cleaning is not specifically covered in their contract-outlined responsibilities. 

Small house model and front door keys sit on wooden table.

12. What Should I Look For When Hiring an Air Duct Technician?

To hire a reputable and trustworthy air duct cleaning company, you need to look for a couple of things. Firstly, you should ensure that the service you are researching does not make false promises or claims about their duct cleaning services. Duct cleaning can not cure illness and should not be done multiple times within a short period. If your duct cleaner claims that duct cleaning can do things that sound too good to be true - they probably are.

Secondly, you should always be given an opportunity before your duct treatment to ask questions and discuss your concerns. If the company refuses to speak with you before the service date or does not offer preliminary consultations, you may want to find another company to clean your air ducts.

Finding a Trustworthy Air Duct Service

Finding a reliable air duct cleaning services provider is the first and most important step towards cleaning air ducts. When it comes to your health, home, and indoor air quality, you shouldn't take any chances.

If you are currently searching for a service provider, look no further than the most trusted name in filtration – Filterbuy LOCAL. Our experienced technicians are happy to answer your questions and assist you with your air duct cleaning needs. 

Our mission is to improve your indoor air quality safely and effectively.

Click here to learn more about Filterbuy LOCAL for air duct cleaning.