Getting Your Ducts in a Row: Is Duct Cleaning Necessary?

American Home Shield explains what is air duct cleaning and if it's necessary. Learn how to keep your air clean and when you should clean your ductwork.

Cleaning air ducts

Maintaining a home is a huge responsibility. Part of that responsibility involves keeping that home clean and tidy, which can sometimes feel like a Herculean task, given the extra chores that sometimes fall by the wayside, like dusting floorboards and ceiling fans, cleaning blinds, etc. It’s no wonder that the “cleanliness” of our ductwork is often no more than an afterthought. 

So, what’s the consensus: Is it necessary to have our home’s ductwork professionally cleaned, or not? In other words, how do we get our ducts in a row? 

Let’s try to determine myth from fact: 

What is duct cleaning?

Duct cleaning is the thorough cleaning of a home’s heating and cooling system components. These include any air ducts and registers, grilles and diffusers, heat exchangers heating and cooling coils, condensate drain pans (drip pans), fan motor and fan housing, and the air handling unit housing. That sounds like a lot, and it is, so in this article, we’ll do our best to explain who should get their ducts clean, and why. 

First off, ductwork gets dirty 

A myriad of airborne pollutants can muck up your air ducts, like smoke, dust mites, pet hair, etc. That said, these factors don’t necessarily mean should move forward with a cleaning, unless there are people who suffer from asthma or other respiratory conditions, especially young children and the elderly. 

Reasons for cleaning your ducts

The Environmental Protection Agency suggests four reasons you may need your ductwork cleaned: infestation, mold, mysterious illnesses and clogged ducts. The EPA does caution, however, that if a service provider does not follow proper duct-cleaning procedures, this can result in even poorer air quality. So, if you decide to move forward with a cleaning, it is essential that you find a service provider with the necessary expertise to do the job right. Considering the cost, which runs from about $400 to $1,000, you don’t want any shortcuts here. 

Facts vs. myths about ductwork cleaning

A magazine, The Family Handyman, considers duct cleaning to be a myth. In fact, it states, “Most homes never need duct cleaning.” But the trusted publication, Consumer Reports,cautions homeowners to think twice before paying for duct cleaning and states that the industry is rife with scams. 

The National Air Duct Cleaners Association, ironically, offers up an easy way to keep your ductwork clean so your family can breathe easier: Change your air filters every two months and make sure they are of good quality. 

To summarize, unless your ductwork is clogged with vermin, (rodents or insects), excessive amounts of dust and debris and/or particles that are actually released into the home from your supply registers, you can probably skip the professional cleaning and use your hard-earned money for other things, like an American Shield Home Warranty that can help cover repairs or replacements of heating and a/c.


AHS assumes no responsibility, and specifically disclaims all liability, for your use of any and all information contained herein.

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New Jersey Residents: The product being offered is a service contract and is separate and distinct from any product or service warranty which may be provided by the home builder or manufacturer.