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The latest news and helpful tips about Air Health.

Is Duct Cleaning Really Necessary?

Mar 20, 2019

infographic showing home indor air pollutants need for duct cleaning

Keeping tabs on everything going on in your home is a challenging task. Apart from day-to-day errands, such as cleaning the dust, vacuuming, and other similar activities, home maintenance is also something that regularly appears on your menu.

Whether you have to take care of the plumbing or do some drywall work, these are the things you can’t skip. One nice thing about these things is that you can see when they need attention. What about the things that you can’t see, but are still in your home and affect the quality of your life?

Yes, we are talking about the air ducts, those things that make the vital part of your in-house HVAC system. “Oh no, is it another thing that I have to clean,” you may be wondering. Well, it should be, if you want peace of mind that everyone in your home is breathing the best quality indoor air.

Many folks are not aware of how harmful dirty ducts can be. This is why we’ve assembled this convenient guide to air duct cleaning and why it can be of great help in home and office environments.

Indoor Air Contains Pollutants as Well

woman having trouble breathing asthmaWith all that talk about air pollution, you might think that you are safe and sound inside your home. “The air in my home is nothing but clean,” you might say with a sigh of relief. But did you know that there is a growing concern among health professionals regarding indoor air pollution as well?

An American Medical Association and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency report tells us that people tend to spend more than 90% of their free time inside their houses. These numbers are even higher for people living in urban areas and those with chronic diseases.

You should also be aware that there are many different pollutants out there. And according to the same study, there are specific pollutants whose concentrations indoors exceed those found outdoors. Since they are airborne, and the air constantly moves, your air ducts’ walls will likely attract these pollutants, gradually distributing them and keeping their concentration constant in your home.

What Are the Major Indoor Air Pollutants

There are many types of indoor air pollutants, but more importantly, all of these go through your ventilation system. This means that a part of them will get stuck in your ducts. Over time, this buildup can turn into a source of pollution, and still contaminate the air in your house even after you get rid of the items that caused the pollution initially. Here are the most common indoors air pollutants that end up in the ducts.

Tobacco Smoke

woman smoking cigarette at homeWe cannot stress enough the harmful effects of tobacco smoke, both for people who smoke in their houses and those living alongside. As you already know, tobacco smoke has this nasty habit of sneaking into furniture, wardrobes, and even carpets.

The portion of its particulate and gaseous components end up in the air ducts. If you smoke tobacco in your house, it is strongly recommended that you have your ducts cleaned at least once per year. If you were planning on quitting, you should also clean your ducts immediately after you stop smoking, as it will help get rid of that odour and remove the harmful particles from your HVAC system.

Combustion Equipment

Different home designs feature different combustion equipment. The most common ones are stoves, space heaters, furnaces, fireplaces, water heaters and clothes dryers. The contaminants that come as a result of using this can be direct and indirect in their nature.

For instance, a fireplace will emit a majority of carbon dioxide and monoxide, and other harmful gases through a chimney, but a portion of it will end up inside the house. Your walls and your lungs are not the only things that picks them up – your ducts do as well, thus continuing to harm you even when the winter season is over.

Water heaters and clothes dryers, on the other hand, increase the overall air humidity in your house. This is beneficial for mold growth – and ducts are not resistant to mold. They are already dark, and when you add humidity to this equation you get a perfect place for mold to thrive. If you use this kind of equipment, regular duct cleaning is in order.

Biological Air Pollutants

The air in every home is contaminated with biological air pollutants to some extent. Those that have their pets living with them are exposed to more risks due to the pet dandruff and hair, especially during the high-shedding seasons in spring and fall.

man coughing with dust in air

There are also numerous airborne viruses and bacteria both people and their pets carry. As we have stated earlier, some of the bacteria and fungi grow better in humid areas. They tend to inhabit ducts as well. So, even after you clean your home and get the relative air humidity below 50%, those biological air pollutants will still be able to come out from the ducts and cause you problems.

Dust mites are also a regular occurrence in most homes. They are very small microorganisms that get easily carried through the air. Home air ventilation systems do suck them out, but a small number of them continues to live in the ducts. This is another reason why regular duct cleaning is important in preserving a healthy living environment.


Dust is the most common nuisance that we encounter on a daily basis. But what very few people know is that no two homes have the same dust. In fact, the the specific dust mix in a household depends on the:

  • Number of people who live in the house
  • The age of the house
  • Climate
  • Cooking and cleaning habits

As a hodgepodge of many things, dust is known to contain decomposing insects, food debris, shed bits of human skin, fibers from clothes, fabrics, and bedding, soil, and cooking matter. It can also contain some very harmful substances such as arsenic and lead, which come via outdoor air. Since it is very light, a part of it ends up in the ducts, sticking to the walls, to continuously pollute your home.

Home Construction Chemicals and Debris

During the construction, reconstruction, and renovation process, your home is exposed to all sorts of materials. There are two scenarios to address here. One in which you are about to move into a brand-new home, and one where you have to clean your home after the renovation process.

construction worker at new home job siteWhat makes both scenarios equally bad is the fact that air ducts are already installed while some of the work still has to be carried out. This means that the portion of all those chemicals used and debris ends up in the ducts. It’s better to be safe than sorry in these circumstances.

This is why you should have your air ducts cleaned after moving into a brand-new home, or after a renovation.

Gases from the Garage

If you have an inhouse garage connected to your central HVAC system, you should also consider cleaning your air ducts from time to time. Why? Even when you work on your car, or turn it on with the garage door open, carbon monoxide and dioxide, and other harmful gases stay in the garage and get sucked into your air ducts.

The HVAC system distributes it across all ducts and other rooms in your house. This also includes dust and debris that contains harmful metals and other materials located in your garage.

Continuous exposure to all the above-mentioned pollutants can lead to some serious diseases. On top of that, the debris forming on the walls of the ducts in your house will also affect the efficiency of your HVAC system. This may lead to increased power expenses and costly repairs.

Health Problems Related to Poor Indoor Air Quality


There are dozens of health problems associated with poor indoor air quality. In fact, the United States Environmental Protection Agency has a complete list accessible via this link.

Some of the pollutants are out of your control, but there are still things that you can do to minimize the concentration of pollutants found in your home. Keeping your air ducts clean is a straightforward action that will protect you and your family.

Please note that if you experience any of the symptoms we are about to go through, it is advised that you visit a medical professional. This is the best practice because it will help you determine the cause of symptoms, rather than putting all the blame on the polluted air in your house and dirty air ducts.

In any case, keeping your HVAC system maintained, as well as the air ducts clean can help you ease these symptoms. If the dirty air ducts were the only cause of your health problems, you will stop experiencing them once you get the ducts cleaned.

Here are the key signs and symptoms related to poor indoor air quality:

  • Fatigue – if you constantly feel like you are tired, and you don’t have the kind of energy you used to, maybe the air quality in your home has significantly decreased.
  • Constant headaches & dizziness are also common in people living in homes with polluted air.
  • If you are suffering from heart disease and you experience frequent angina, you should get your air ducts checked.
  • Rhinitis, frequent cough, and the worsening of your asthma symptoms can be related to animal dander, mites, and mold. Biological pollutants can also lead to chest tightness and conjunctival inflammation.
  • If you suddenly have an allergic skin reaction, you should visit your doctor. But make sure to check your air ducts after afterwards.

The most common symptoms are associated with having trouble breathing.

Signs That Your Home Needs Air Duct Cleaning

How can you tell when your air ducts need to be cleaned? There are certain telltale signs that can help you assess the situation better and make an informed decision.

Sign 1: There Is Way Too Much Dust in Your Home

As you know, dust is an inevitable part of living indoors, but in some instances you should ask yourself whether it is caused by dirty air ducts. You can tell this is the case if you notice that there is simply too much dust in your home. If you are under the impression that there is more dust than usual, then you should get your air ducts checked.

Sign 2: Someone in Your Home Experiences Worsening Respiratory Problems

Respiratory problems can be caused by many things. Once you get cleared by your doctor, you should revisit your home and what could be hiding within it.

If you still feel the same after the cleaning, your air ducts could be the culprit. They may contain debris causing you to develop respiratory problems or an allergic reaction. Getting them clean could help restore your wellbeing.

technician shows effects of dirty air ducts need cleaningSign 3: It Appears That Your Home Has Caught Some Odor

There is nobody cooking anything in the kitchen, everything is quiet, but you are still able to catch a scent of a peculiar odour.

Odours can be constant or come in waves. If you experience either, the chances are that the odor originates from your air ducts. Getting them them cleaned is a good step towards enjoying some fresh and odourless air in your home.

Sign 4: There Is a Lot of Dust on Your Vent Grills

You vent grills are your crown witness in your case against cleaning air ducts. The air in your home constantly circulates through your air ducts and if it’s carrying anything, a portion of it will be caught by the vent grills.

Go and check them now. If you find a lot of dust on them, it means that your air ducts are filled with it. You should get this checked by a professional and get the ducts cleaned if necessary.

Sign 5: Uneven Temperature in Your Home

The capacity of your HVAC system heavily relies on the capacity of the air ducts. A few millimeters of debris attached to the ducts’ walls doesn’t appear to be a problem. After all, what could a few millimeters of debris do? But this is not the case.

It will affect your HVAC system and limit the air ventilation, causing uneven temperatures throughout your home, especially in the far corners. This is because the diminished power of the ventilation system renders it unable to pick up that air and replace it with new, fresh air.

Sign 6: Increased Electrical Bills

dirty vent hvac duct needs cleaningWhen you set the desired temperature in your home, your HVAC system will work until the air temperatures meets the preset threshold. If your air ducts are clean, your system will be very efficient, and able to reach the desired temperature very quickly.

On the other hand, if your air ducts are filled with dust and debris, your system will have to work more. This system inefficiency is reflected in increased electrical bills.

Sign 7: You’ve Moved into a New Home

New home means new air ducts, but, unfortunately, it also could mean that these new air ducts are filled with chemicals and debris that follow the finishing works on the home interior. If you want to make sure that air in your new home is as clean as possible, you will have to clean your air ducts as soon as you move in, if not before.

Sign 8: You’ve Had Your Home Renovated

Home renovation is a great thing to accomplish, especially if you’ve been living in that house for a long time. There is nothing better than living in a home adjusted so that it reflects your and your family’s personal needs.

But the process of renovation can pollute your air ducts, thus significantly jeopardizing the quality of the air in your home. This is why we advise that any extensive home renovation should be followed by air duct cleaning.

Sign 9: You Want to Maintain Good Air Quality in Your Home

If you are concerned with your quality of life and have the intention to do everything in your power to improve it, then adding HVAC system maintenance to your list is a big plus. You’ve seen how hazardous dirty air ducts can be. If you want to ensure the best possible air quality in your home, increase your HVAC system efficiency and cut down your monthly expenses, make sure to schedule regular air duct cleaning.

Benefits of Regular Air Duct Cleaning

man and daughter breathing clean air at home

Although it may appear as just regular work around the house that packs very few benefits, it is quite the contrary. Keeping your air ducts clean provides many benefits, including the following.

Better Quality of Life for People with Respiratory Problems

If you or anyone in your family suffers from a chronic respiratory condition, clean air can benefit them and help reduce their symptoms.

Air ducts are the vital part of the ventilation system, and as such, they affect the quality of air. Keeping them clean can help maintain and even improve everyone’s quality of life, especially for the family members with respiratory problems.

No More Allergens and Annoying Odors

The process of air duct cleaning removes everything attached to their walls. Some of these substances are allergens, while others are responsible for creating those annoying odors you never managed to place your finger on. Once cleaned, the air in your home will be fresh once again.

Healthier Lifestyle

Clean air ducts means more oxygen, less harmful particles in the air and a better balanced temperature throughout the house. You will be able to recuperate from your busy day at work faster and better. You can also experience better quality of sleep and feel rested without experiencing that mysterious fatigue anymore.

Considerably Less Dust to Manage

Unattended air ducts are the number one source of the dust in your home. By having the ducts cleaned, the amount of dust that appears in your home every day can be significantly reduced. This helps you streamline house cleaning, spending less time on cleaning the dust and focusing on more pressing matters or pleasurable activities.

Lower Electricity Bills

Your ventilation system efficiency depends on many things. Air ducts are an important factor here. If they are filled with dust and debris, your system will have to work more, thus spending more power. Keeping the ducts clean can increase the entire system’s efficiency and help save you money in the process. This is why some people look at duct cleaning as an investment.

Reduce the Risk of Specific Contaminants

Air duct cleaning is a delicate process which includes very specific chemicals and methods. All of these are designed not only to clean air ducts and return them to their original state, but to eliminate specific airborne contaminants and ensure a healthy environment for the house residents.

Increase Heating and Air Conditioner System Durability

Routine maintenance on a regular schedule is a recipe for success when it comes to heating and air conditioning systems. Much like other systems, these are prone to specific malfunctions. Cleaning your air ducts on a regular basis can increase the durability of your system, help prevent major malfunctions, and save or defer the cost of replacing the entire system.
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Experience a Cleaner Home with Air Duct Cleaning from Modern PURAIR®

Finally, we have arrived at the very end of our epic journey. Considering all the harm that comes from unattended air ducts, and all the benefits from having them cleaned, the answer to your question “Is Duct Cleaning Necessary” should come quite naturally.

Besides, it only takes a couple of hours to complete the air duct cleaning in an average sized home. This and the fact that the process needs to be repeated only every 2 to 3 years makes air duct cleaning easy to plan and put on your home maintenance schedule.

Contact Modern PURAIR® today to schedule your next air duct cleaning. Remember, when you choose us, you’re getting the aforementioned benefits – and you’re getting PURAIR®!

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