Can air duct cleaning cause damage?

Cleaning air ducts can cause significant damage that can be costly to repair. The ducts are made of various materials. You or an unqualified duct cleaner may not know how best to clean ducts made of certain materials. In addition, you could damage them if you use the wrong cleaning materials and procedures.

Duct cleaning is a service offered by most HVAC companies. However, cleaning the air ducts can do them more harm than good. Most Houston residents choose to clean their air ducts because they have old ducts that have been in the attic or inside walls and that have collected dust for more than ten years. Most air conditioning companies will promote duct cleaning as a solution to improve indoor air quality, but they don't mention that this service can cause significant damage to duct systems that will need to be repaired in the future.

Experience the difference with Smart Air: Our Houston HVAC team puts the best interests of our customers first. We offer alternative solutions for indoor air quality without jeopardizing the integrity of your air duct systems. You may consider cleaning air ducts simply because it seems logical that air ducts get dirty over time and should be cleaned from time to time. As long as cleaning is done properly, there is no evidence to suggest that such cleaning could be harmful. The EPA does not recommend that air ducts be cleaned routinely, but only when necessary.

However, the EPA recommends that if you have an oven, stove, or chimney that burns fuel, they be inspected to make sure they are working properly and serviced before each heating season to protect against carbon monoxide poisoning. A heating and air conditioning professional can thoroughly check the ducts to determine the type of ducts and the condition of the different hooks and safety points. Failure to do so could damage the ducts, reducing efficiency and, in addition, could cause premature system failure. For example, the rotbrush can quickly become trapped in flow dampers and break or disconnect poorly secured or protected ducts. Damaged ducts are often the result of air duct cleaning, especially when done by an inexperienced contractor.

Whether or not you decide to clean your home's air ducts, preventing water and dirt from entering the system is the most effective way to prevent contamination (see How to Prevent Duct Contamination). Some service providers may also suggest applying chemical treatments (sealants or other encapsulants) to encapsulate or cover the interior surfaces of air ducts and equipment housings, as they believe this will control mold formation or prevent the release of dirt particles or fibers from the ducts. Since the conditions in every home are different, it's impossible to generalize about whether cleaning the air ducts in your home would be beneficial or not. Most organizations dealing with pipeline cleaning, including the EPA, NADCA, NAIMA, and the National Association of Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors (SMACNA), currently do not recommend the routine use of sealants to encapsulate contaminants in any type of duct.

So why do some local air conditioning companies offer duct cleaning services? How can you remove unwanted allergens and contaminants from your home and air conditioning system? The brush cleaning method involves inserting a brush into the duct and trying to collect or release the dust. If you think that cleaning your ducts might be a good idea for your home, but you're not sure, talk to a professional. However, there is little evidence to indicate that simply cleaning the duct system will increase the efficiency of the system. In most cases, dust is harmless and, in fact, cleaning air ducts could lead to major problems, such as duct damage.

However, there is little evidence that cleaning only the ducts improves system efficiency. You've probably seen an advertisement, received a coupon in the mail, or a company contacted you directly to offer you to clean your home's air ducts as a way to improve indoor air quality in your home. While many of these products can legally be used inside uncoated ducts if all instructions on the label are followed, some of the instructions on the label may not be suitable for use on ducts. It found no significant improvement in air quality, and duct cleaning alone did not improve airflow or energy efficiency.

Whether or not you decide to clean your home's air ducts, it's essential to commit to a good preventive maintenance program to minimize duct pollution. Local air conditioning companies or service providers often promote the idea of cleaning air conditioning ducts as another way to prevent indoor air pollution and improve air quality. One of the few independent studies was conducted in the 1990s by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), when it examined 33 homes in Montreal before and after cleaning the ducts.

Estelle Bookhart
Estelle Bookhart

Unapologetic zombie advocate. Award-winning zombie enthusiast. Passionate internet scholar. Hardcore web specialist. Total web trailblazer. Evil twitter junkie.

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