First, how does the ducting system work? The hot air furnace in a home distributes air through its ducting system. Ducts are typically made of sheet metal and can often be seen hanging in the rafters of unfinished basements. Supply, or warm air ducts, usually exit from the top of the furnace. They begin with a trunk duct on the basement ceiling. Individual round (or smaller square) ducts branch off of the trunk duct and go to rooms and terminate as floor or wall registers. There are also cold air ducts that bring air into the furnace, collecting it from the center parts of your house. These are the bigger rectangular ducts that run along the basement ceiling and that enter the bottom of the furnace. Over time, ducts collect dust and debris and the question arises, should you get your ducts cleaned?
Because ducts are made from metal, the ducts themselves cannot create dust. Most household dust comes from outside, either by being tracked or carried in, or blown in through doors and windows. Dust or small debris is also created by the shedding natural to humans and pets, fibers from textiles, wear and tear, and other activities such as hobbies. Dust is always present and you can often see dust particles swirling around in a sunlight beam from a window.
To start with, two things make sense – good entrance mats from coarser outside, to less coarse inside, that collect dirt and debris at the door, and can be regularly cleaned, and a good furnace filter that can keep the furnace heat exchanger, air conditioning coil, and supply ducts from accumulating too much debris and dust. However, furnace air filters will remove only so much of the dust. Dust in a home can also be controlled by regular house cleaning (including professional maid service) and getting carpeted areas and fabric upholstery cleaned annually or as necessary by a professional carpet cleaner.
So When Should You Get Your Homes Ducts Cleaned?
- When you move into a newly constructed house or have had major renovations on your home. Construction dust doesn’t belong in your ducting. Construction debris could have fallen or been swept into ducting. If you move into a new house you might want to get your ducting (and furnace) checked and cleaned for peace of mind.
- If furnace airflow doesn’t seem adequate a duct cleaning could reveal and remove obstructions such as toys, bags, etc. (don’t forget your dryer vent that needs to be cleaned periodically to prevent blockage). Having the furnace cleaned to make sure that the furnace motor, air conditioning coil, heat exchanger, humidifier are clean and in good working order can also make a difference to air flow in the ducting.
- If you can see debris and an accumulation of dust in registers, or have shedding pets, a good thorough cleaning might be in order although this might not increase the ove
rall air flow in ducting.
- If ducting has been exposed to water. This could lead to mold if left, so once you have the problem solved, clean and disinfect the affected ducting, and clean the rest of the ducting.
There is more than one way of having your ducts cleaned from duct skippers to duct cleaning brushes, but as in most things, a companies reputation and the effort and thoroughness of a furnace and duct cleaning technician is the most important thing. Cleaning methods and systems are as good as how they are used.
For general duct cleaning situations (not including flooded ones), spraying or fogging the ducts after cleaning with biocides is not necessary. Remember, anything applied into the ducting will be spread throughout the house when the heating or air conditioning system is operating and air is flowing through it. There are no spray or fog products under the Pest Control Act of Canada that are registered for residential duct cleaning. The most recognized method and standard for any cleaning is source removal – ie. taking the source out of the ducting and home often by professional cleaning.
For any questions about your home ducting cleaning needs, call Ram at 403-219-2051 and talk to one of our Furnace and Duct Cleaning Representatives.
Ram Cleaning Services, Complete Cleaning and Maintenance Care serving Calgary and area since 1967.
Tags: heating ducts