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When to Clean Ducts? The EPA Tells You!

When thinking about cleaning and maintaining your home for spring, you may think about vacuuming and mopping the inside and possibly weeding and planting on the outside.  But what about the “in-between” the outside and the inside?  What about your ducts and heating/cooling system?  You know when your house needs to be cleaned, right?  When your kitchen resembles an old western movie with tumbleweeds of dog hair rolling around.  You know you need to weed your yard when every time you pull into your driveway you cringe at the little green intruders in your garden.  How do you know when to clean your ducts?  The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) offers some advice on the matter:

  • There is substantial visible mold growth inside hard surface (e.g., sheet metal) ducts or on other components of your heating and cooling system. There are several important points to understand concerning mold detection in heating and cooling systems:
    • Many sections of your heating and cooling system may not be accessible for a visible inspection, so ask the service provider to show you any mold they say exists.
    • You should be aware that although a substance may look like mold, a positive determination of whether it is mold or not can be made only by an expert and may require laboratory analysis for final confirmation. For about $50, some microbiology laboratories can tell you whether a sample sent to them on a clear strip of sticky household tape is mold or simply a substance that resembles it.
    • If you have insulated air ducts and the insulation gets wet or moldy it cannot be effectively cleaned and should be removed and replaced.
    • If the conditions causing the mold growth in the first place are not corrected, mold growth will recur.
  • Ducts are infested with vermin, e.g. (rodents or insects); or
  • Ducts are clogged with excessive amounts of dust and debris and/or particles are actually released into the home from your supply registers.

If any of the conditions identified above exists, it usually suggests one or more underlying causes. Prior to any cleaning, retrofitting, or replacing of your ducts, the cause or causes must be corrected or else the problem will likely recur.

(*the above information is directly taken from EPA:  Should You Have the Air Ducts in Your Home Cleaned?)

If your home meets any of the above criteria or if you are concerned about potential dirt and dust increasing allergic symptoms in your home, you may want to contact FLAME.  FLAME offers NADCA (National Air Duct Cleaners Association) certified technicians to inspect and clean your ducts.

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