Air ducts are passages that carry hot and cold air throughout the house. Like any other air conditioning system, air ducts require regular maintenance to ensure maximum efficiency and performance. The National Association of Air Duct Cleaners (NADCA) recommends cleaning air ducts every 3 to 5 years as a general rule. Even though there is no evidence to suggest that such cleaning is harmful, it is still important to consider the factors that can influence the frequency of cleaning. The EPA does not recommend that air ducts be cleaned routinely, but only when necessary.
However, they do suggest inspecting and maintaining furnaces, stoves, or fireplaces that burn fuel before each heating season to protect them from carbon monoxide poisoning. When determining how often duct systems should be cleaned, a few factors are taken into account. Every 3 to 5 years is a standard recommendation, but you might want to consider doing it more often depending on certain factors. This is because much of the dirt in the air ducts adheres to the surfaces of the ducts and does not necessarily enter the living space. If you have pets or children with allergies, it is recommended to clean the air ducts more often than the recommended average. Manufacturers of products marketed to coat and encapsulate duct surfaces claim that these sealants prevent dust and dirt particles inside air ducts from being released into the air.
Air duct cleaning service providers may tell you that they need to apply a chemical biocide to the inside of the ducts to kill bacteria (germs) and fungi (mold) and prevent future biological growth. That's why it's important to periodically check the condition of the air ducts to see if they can use air duct cleaning services. On the other hand, if a service provider does not follow proper duct cleaning procedures, it can cause problems with indoor air. Experts recommend cleaning air ducts every 2 to 3 years to avoid many maintenance and health problems before they start to occur. While debate continues about the value of regular duct cleaning, there is no evidence to suggest that such cleaning would be harmful, provided that it is done correctly. Any sign of rodents or insects in the air conditioning system indicates that it is necessary to clean the ducts by a professional. Since the conditions in every home are different, it's impossible to generalize about whether cleaning your home's air ducts would be beneficial or not. Knowledge about cleaning air ducts is in its early stages, so a general recommendation cannot be offered on whether to clean the air ducts in the house.
However, cleaning your air ducts every 3-5 years is a good rule of thumb for maximum efficiency and performance.