The Truth About Air Duct Sanitization

As an expert in the field of air duct cleaning, I have seen many homeowners and businesses fall prey to the false claims of duct cleaning companies. The truth is, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not recommend routine cleaning of air ducts, but only as needed. However, it is important to regularly inspect and maintain fuel-burning appliances to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. So, is it really worth it to sanitize your air ducts? Let's take a closer look. The National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) states that the best method for cleaning and decontaminating air ducts is through extraction cleaning.

This thorough process removes contaminants that can contribute to the growth of mold and other microorganisms. However, the NADCA also emphasizes that there is no need to use chemicals during the cleaning process to eliminate these contaminants. Despite this, many duct cleaning companies will insist that their services are essential for maintaining good health. They may even claim that cleaning your air ducts will lower your energy bills by improving system efficiency. However, there is no evidence to support these claims.

In fact, the little independent research that has been conducted on duct cleaning indicates that the process actually generates more dust and can create bigger problems than it solves. Currently, there is no research to show that routine duct cleaning improves air quality or reduces dust in your home. So why do some companies offer additional services such as applying a disinfectant to air ducts? The truth is, there are certain use cases where using a disinfectant may be beneficial. For example, if there has been a recent mold infestation or if someone in the household has a weakened immune system. It is also important to consider inspecting your duct system for leaks, as leaking ducts can reduce efficiency and introduce air quality problems. This is because much of the dirt in the air ducts adheres to the duct surfaces and does not necessarily enter the living space.

So, while it may seem intuitive to clean your air ducts, the reality is that the dust that settles in the ventilation system usually stays put and is unlikely to affect the air you breathe unless it is disturbed. In recent years, air duct cleaning has become a popular service, with commercial cleaning companies popping up everywhere. You may have even scheduled an appointment to have your ducts cleaned, but are now wondering if there are additional services that can improve the quality of the cleaning. Many times, when speaking to air duct cleaning contractors, customers are told that their air ducts should be disinfected after cleaning. With growing concerns about indoor air quality, it's easy for homeowners to be convinced that their ductwork needs to be cleaned and sanitized. However, a study conducted by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) found that while there was a small reduction in airborne particles when fan blades were also cleaned, there was no significant improvement in air quality after cleaning the ducts alone.

In fact, the study concluded that duct cleaning does not usually change the quality of the air you breathe or significantly affect airflow or heating costs.