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9 Duct Cleaning Mistakes You Want to Avoid

9 Duct Cleaning Mistakes You Want to Avoid

9 Duct Cleaning Mistakes You Want to Avoid

Dirt, dust, and grim can contaminate HVAC ducts, but duct cleaning mistakes may cause more serious problems. When done properly, cleaning ducts can help improve indoor air quality and heating/cooling system performance. Other benefits include reduced odors, fewer allergy symptoms, and mold prevention. However, a mistake can have costly consequences, including breaking ducts (especially flexible ones) and requiring expensive ductwork repairs or replacement.

To prevent such scenarios, here are 9 duct cleaning mistakes to avoid:

1. Skipping Routine Maintenance

In the HVAC industry, duct cleaning isn’t recommended as often as annual AC or heating maintenance. But when performed every few years, it can help heating and cooling equipment run more smoothly. Consult with a professional if your air ducts haven’t been cleaned in a while, and don’t ignore your HVAC system’s maintenance requirements. Scheduling an air conditioner tune-up in spring and a furnace tune-up in fall can slow down debris buildup in ducts.

The same contractor that maintains your AC or furnace may also clean ductwork. However, not all ductwork cleaning tasks require a professional. Your routine can include cleaning off vents and the duct segments behind them. This may prevent or resolve some blockages, so following a regular schedule can save you time and money. Also, change your air filter as recommended with one of the same size and specifications.

2. Cleaning Air Ducts Too Often

Your HVAC ductwork doesn’t need to be cleaned that often. If done too much, duct cleaning can do more harm than good. It increases the risk of damage. Besides, if you change the air filters as recommended, dust shouldn’t accumulate quickly enough to require cleaning air ducts more than once every few years.

3. Not Hiring a Qualified Technician

Only a certified HVAC technician is trained and equipped to perform an extensive duct cleaning. Just because a company advertises itself as a duct cleaning service doesn’t guarantee it’ll do a good job. To determine if you’ve found the right company:

  • Research a contractor’s licensing and certifications for servicing air ducts.
  • Check how many years it’s been in business; usually the more the better.
  • Verify it’s insured so you don’t incur the costs of repairs, replacements, or injuries if something goes wrong on the job. 

Even if you’ve found a seasoned professional, read reviews and obtain references to ensure that they’ve maintained the same quality of service.

4. Using the Wrong Equipment

Duct cleaning requires specialized tools and equipment. The same cleaning implements used for other parts of your home may be ineffective or harmful. For example, a standard home vacuum cleaner and attachment may not do the job. It could also damage an air duct if you’re not careful. Using long objects to reach into ducts can puncture or disconnect them or cause damage that triggers leaks or corrosion. This can create issues throughout your HVAC system.

When cleaning air vents, use a heavy-duty vacuum to remove dust, dirt, pollen, hair, and other materials that can cause clogs and respiratory symptoms. The vacuum should have a long hose suited for use with ductwork. Use a cleaning brush to clear debris from covers and grilles (or remove them before rinsing with soap and water). 

5. Forgetting to Cover Vent Openings

Whether you’re doing a basic duct cleaning or have hired a professional, make sure all vent openings are covered. Otherwise, dust can be blown all over your home. If possible, close covers and grilles during the cleaning process. Otherwise, cover them with towels or paper towels.

6. Neglecting Attic Insulation

The attic is probably not the most used part of your home. But don’t ignore it, especially regarding insulation. Poor or deteriorated attic insulation can reduce the efficiency of ductwork and your entire heating and cooling system.

When cleaning air ducts, a contractor should check the insulation. If necessary, they can replace it, add more, or install insulating materials where they should be. Insulating the attic and ducts blocks heat transfer. Otherwise, hot air in summer can heat cool air generated by your HVAC system, while warm air from your furnace can escape before it can heat your home in winter.

7. Failing to Clean Behind HVAC Equipment

Duct cleaning is only as effective as the quality of the process used. Other steps are needed to ensure it has lasting benefits. When a professional cleans your air ducts, they should also clean behind your air conditioner or furnace, where dirt, dust, and debris can build up, get into your ductwork, and circulate throughout your home. Therefore, cleaning behind appliances can improve indoor air quality and reduce allergy symptoms, asthma attacks, and other respiratory issues.

8. Using Chemical Cleaners

Only mild cleaners should be used for air ducts. Many cleaning agents have harsh chemical compounds. These not only pollute the air and cause irritation and illness. They can also damage duct materials, causing leaks and corrosion. Never try to clean ducts with a chemical cleaner, and always ask a duct cleaning professional what types of cleaners they use, so you know your home and family are safe.

9. Not Properly Removing Mold and Mildew

Mold and mildew are not uncommon in ductwork, especially in systems that aren’t regularly maintained. Mold growth can do a lot of damage. It’s also often hard to remove. A professional can find affected ductwork and use specialized compounds to neutralize and clean mold, preventing further problems. Removing mold and mildew from a duct often requires high-pressure water or an acid cleaner, which can cause damage if done incorrectly.

Schedule Duct Cleaning with Monarch Home Services

Homeowners in Bakersfield, Fresno, and other communities in the San Joaquin Valley rely on us to keep their air ducts clean. Our NATE- and EPA-certified technicians use the latest, most effective methods to clean, decontaminate, and sanitize ductwork. We’re committed to helping improve HVAC system efficiency and protect your family’s health. To schedule duct cleaning and other indoor air quality services, call us at (661) 215-6657 today.

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