The EPA recommends cleaning the duct system every 3 to 5 years for the average home. Your heating and cooling ducts can hold mold, bacteria, debris, dirt, dust, rodents and insects which can cause health problems. Duct cleaning improves indoor air quality and can prevent health problems. You will definitely need to have your air ducts cleaned if there is mold present. When you find mold growth inside the ducts (first eliminate the moisture that caused the mold), this could be from your air conditioner not working properly. To check for these problems, take off the register covers and shine a light down the duct as far as you can see or hold cameras inside the duct and snap a picture (make sure to use the flash). Once you have determined there is mold, a qualified air duct cleaning company can work to remedy the situation.
Mold is not the only reason to have your air ducts cleaned. Newly constructed and renovated homes should have their ducts cleaned to clear up debris in the ducts and insure there are no blockages to air flow. Oftentimes people who experience allergies find that cleaning the air duct system in their house helps to alleviate symptoms and improve the air inside their home. If your home also has poor airflow, you may notice lingering smells; a good solution would be to ensure their are no blockages in the system and help your heating and cooling system deliver fresh air throughout the home.
If you decide to have the ducts cleaned, be prepared to spend $450 to $1,000 for a thorough job that includes cleaning the entire heating and cooling system. Be wary of companies that offer “specials” for $100 or less, since they usually don’t do a complete job, you know the old saying: IF IT SOUNDS TO GOOD TO BE TRUE? IT PROBABLY IS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE. It’s a good idea to take “before” and “after” looks at your ducts to make sure you see a difference and that the job is done properly.