Air ducts, like any other air conditioning system, require regular cleaning to ensure maximum efficiency. The National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) recommends cleaning air ducts every three to five years. However, in some environments, the need to clean commercial air ducts is more immediate. A few things are a factor in determining how often duct systems should be cleaned. Every 3 to 5 years is a standard recommendation, but you may want to consider doing it more frequently depending on certain conditions.
The average duct system should be cleaned every two to three years. If your system is properly maintained and you change the filters twice a year, you can extend the time between professional cleanings. If your system has never been cleaned and has been active on your property for more than three years, it's likely that you need to clean it. Even a single station can accumulate enough dust and dirt in the system to make it less efficient than when it was first installed. When large amounts of dust enter your home, the return air emitted by the air conditioning system has a minimal increase in quality compared to the air that enters.
The advantages of duct cleaning are that it removes all debris from the duct system and not just the last few meters that the owner can remove with a vacuum. Any sign of rodents or insects in the air conditioning system indicates that the ducts should be professionally cleaned. It should also be noted that sharing the house with pets that shed hair will increase the amount of dust, dirt and hair inside the ventilation grilles, so ducts will need to be cleaned more often. If you have signs of mold, it's a sign to have your air ducts checked by a professional. If you have severe allergies or live in a place with a high level of pollen or allergens, you should reduce the time between air duct cleanings.
Don't make the mistake of thinking that since you have a filter in your system, there's no need to clean the ducts. To see the entire interior of the ducts, it is necessary for an air duct cleaning company to perform a video inspection. The National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA), a trade group, relies on cleaning air ducts only when necessary. Only be sure to clean the ducts when there is visible mold, signs of pests, or an excessive amount of dust and dirt in the rooms. While each company's air duct cleaning process will look slightly different, they will all have a similar overall process. The best time to clean ducts is in spring or early fall, after you have stopped using the air conditioning system to cool or heat the property and before having to use it again.
The presence of dust in the first few meters of the return air duct does not necessarily mean that the ducts should be cleaned by a professional. Experts recommend cleaning air ducts every 2 to 3 years to avoid many maintenance and health problems before they start. However, the EPA takes a different position, noting that duct cleaning has not been proven to prevent health problems. When you hire professional duct cleaning companies, they know what to look for in relation to signs of mold and almost always offer a service to eliminate the infestation.