Is Duct Cleaning A Waste of Money ?
To be very clear, it depends on how your home is cared for and used. Many factors contribute to the need for duct cleaning, some of which we have listed below. Even if you only have one or two of these factors, it will depends on how significant any issue it is for assisting or becoming contaminants that float into your ducts.
- Is carpet and area rugs cleaned very often
- Are shoes worn throughout the house
- Do you boil and fry food which creates a sticky vapour
- Do you often vacuum floors and soft furniture material
- Do you have a lot of floor registers as opposed to wall or ceiling
- Is smoke a factor from candles, incense, and or tobacco
- Do you use aerosols around the house
- Is shed hair easily found on your floors
- Do you have one or more pets with fur or hair
- How often do you wash your pet especially after being outside
- Do you have plants and soils in the house where mold can grow
- hundreds more...
Some Say "Duct Cleaning is not necessary"
Some people suggest there is no need to clean your ducts. We have read their articles and are not sure what factors from the list above they accounted for. Did these homeowners have a pet that shed, did they vacuum every day, do they own carpet, how do they cook?
So lets consider this... If all the data available says a clean house keeps your family healthier which includes your floors, beds, clothes (even if they never leave your house), furniture, counters, bathrooms, toys, the water you drink, and everything else found in a house, then why would you not clean sources for the air you breathe?
Why did Duct Cleaning Become An Industry?
The air duct cleaning industry was established in Ontario when forced air heating systems grew more popular in homes. Forcing air through ducts and wall cavities soon showed evidence that more than just air was passing through. Since so many homes were drafty in the winter and most did not have air conditioning so windows were open during the good weather and summer, the need to keep ducts clean was not on anyone's radar.
As science and technology turned their attention toward the average home after the energy crises of 1970's, sealing in the air you paid to heat or cool became a new industry. Windows and doors were better sealed, walls and attics were better insulated with more effective vapour barrier methods. Homes become more more energy efficient, which saved money but also effectively sealed in recycled air and its contaminants.
40 pounds of unavoidable dust is created in the average 6 room home each year. Add pets and remodeling projects, and the number climbs significantly.
Dust and debris collects contaminants. As dust grows into dustballs they begin acting like nets capturing allergens, mold, and bacteria. Days or weeks later, contaminants can be shaken loose by the furnace fan and propelled back into the air you breathe. Cleaning your furnace and ducts minimizes places for contaminants hide and thrive where they later hitch rides on light debris back to the air you breathe.
Debris that is too heavy to float and often made up of soils, dead skin, long hair, bugs, and food crumbs. These contribute to the number of contaminants in the air by providing them a place to live and even grow. Heavy debris often falls or gets swept into floor grates or vents where they remain, rarely reaching the furnace filter.
Debris that is light enough to float such as hair and flakes of dead skin are the transportation for contaminants. They act like taxis delivering them throughout your house thanks to the furnace fan. Some will get hung up on metal seams or sharp edges in the ducts, drywall, insulation, and wood studs where they collect into dust balls and continue to grow in size acting as pollen and bacteria collector nets.
How Often Should Air Ducts Be Cleaned
Keeping your windows open all the time reduces dust if you do not live in a dusty area. This is because fresh air has a higher concentration of negative ions which reduce the ability of airborne particles to float. Since keeping windows open for much of the year is not practical in Ontario, we spend much of our time in air tight environments increasing the amount of airborne dust.
Symptoms that your ducts need to be cleaned:
- If you notice your allergies are extending past their normal season, pollen can be trapped in your ducts
- If you are fighting more than your share of colds and other common illnesses during shut-in months such as winter or hot summer spells
- If dust seems to collect too quickly on your furniture, especially when the furnace fan is being used often
- If your energy bill is climbing there could be too much dust forcing your heating and cooling system to work harder
Does A Furnace Filter Clean Enough?
If you think your furnace filter is adequate, consider how much dust gets spread throughout your home every week. Furnace filters can only capture a portion of this dust and only of a certain size. Since dust is spread into every room consider how easy it is for bacteria and germs to hitch a ride. Now consider how much dust must be in your ducts which never gets cleaned until you call an Ontario Duct Cleaner.
If you have ever looked closely at a ceiling or table fan you will notice dust that has accumulated on the back of each blade. No matter how fast the fan is operating, the dust keeps accumulating. Dust is able to stick to everything including your ducts. This dust never reaches your furnace filter. Only someone with the right equipment and experience can clean your ducts adequately.
Do Electrostatic Furnace Filters Work Better?
This type of filter does capture dust if you keep the screen clean, but since the screens are so thin, dust does get through. This is where the Electronic fins are supposed to help. They charge the particles that get past the screen filter with static electricity so they will 'stick' to the fins. However, this often creates another problem.
Once a particle of dust gets through the filter it will hit the electrostatic fins where it is sometimes blown into tiny pieces. Evidence of this is when you hear the unit zapping. Although this noise leads you to believe it is doing a great job of cleaning the air, it is in fact turning heavier particles into much smaller ones, making the job of cleaning your air that much more difficult. If a particle of dust makes it past the filter and then gets blown apart into smaller particles and continues into the house... well... you see the problem.
An electrostatic filter does have advantages for those with allergy issues so you have to weigh the pros and cons based on the manufacturers claims.
What parts need to be cleaned?
Several areas of your heating system need to be cleaned of dust like everything else in your home. These components include:
- Return ducts and vents
- Supply ducts and vents
- Furnace filter
- Furnace fan (blower)
- Heat exchanger
- A/C cooling coil (A-frame)
So is duct cleaning worth the expense?
If it was a fad or lacked credibility, we would have been crazy to invest a dime. Yet, we did make the massive investment in equipment, trucks, and staff to keep the air in your home clean. That is how much we believe in responsible expert duct cleaning.