AIR DUCT CLEANING – IS IT A SCAM?
Cleaning your home’s air ducts can easily end up costing you hundreds of dollars, but is it really necessary? According to industry experts including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in most instances the answer is no.
In recent years air duct cleaning industry has become a multi million dollar business. Here in Calgary every day home owners are bombarded with information from companies claiming that duct cleaning can “reduce heating bills” and “improve air quality”. Recently however serious concerns have arisen as to the actual benefits air duct cleaning provide.
SIMPLY NOT NECESSARY
In its report the EPA stated that the only time home owners should consider professional cleaning of domestic home heating ducts is if they have what it terms “gross problems” such as “mold growth, vermin infestations or excessive dust or debris”. Despite that however every year millions of home owners across North America spend hundreds of dollars getting their ducts professionally cleaned.
According to the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) the average cost of cleaning a typical home’s air duct system can range anywhere between $400.00 to $1,000.00. As to those $99.00 specials you see advertised, NADCA advices people to be “extremely cautious” adding that many such promotions have catches or provide sub-standard workmanship.
As to claims that duct cleaning can provides a health benefit. The EPA say this no such claims have ever been proven. The Environmental Protection Agency also states that they have not and never have provided any form of certification for domestic air duct cleaning companies. As for claims that duct cleaning improves the efficiency of your heating system. It would appear that the consensus of opinion from industry experts is that, unless you have a major blockage such as a dead rodent or child’s toy wedged in your return air duct, cleaning any accumulated dust from the interior of ducts is extremely unlikely to provide any improvement in the systems efficiency.
THE BOTTOM LINE
According to industry experts the best way to maintain and look after your home heating system is by having it regularly serviced by a qualified technician and frequently maintaining and/or changing the return air filter.
Steve Kelly is a broadcaster and photojournalist based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
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