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Vent Cleaning – Choosing A Service Provider

By Luke Armstrong

Over time, the vent ducts in your HVAC system can become clogged with dust, debris, mold spores and other contaminants that can contribute to allergies, asthma, and other health problems. You may be able to alleviate symptoms by simply cleaning the vent registers, but if your vents are very dirty you should hire a professional air vent cleaning service.

Duct CleaningDo Your Vents Need Cleaning?

The U.S. EPA does not recommend vent cleaning as part of regular HVAC maintenance, simply because the amount of dirt that accumulates varies widely from one system to the next. A visual inspection should tell you whether or not your vents need cleaning.

Hiring a Qualified Vent Cleaning Service

Not all vent cleaning services are equally qualified. Some will attempt to win your business by under-bidding, but these companies may not clean the entire vent duct system. Beware of any vent cleaning service that makes sweeping claims about the health benefits of vent duct cleaning or claims to be certified by the EPA. The EPA does not certify vent cleaning services.

Ask these questions before hiring a vent cleaning service:

  • Are you licensed by the state for air vent cleaning? Some states, including Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Michigan and Texas, license air vent cleaners.
  • How many HVAC systems of my brand and model have you cleaned in the past year? Avoid vent cleaning services that are inexperienced in systems like yours.
  • Which air duct cleaning standards do you follow? The National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) issues professional standards for air vent cleaning. If your vents are insulated with fiberglass, any vent cleaning service should also follow the standards set out by the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association (NAIMA)
  • Do you use biocides or other chemical cleaners? There is little scientific evidence to support the use of ozone or other biocides for cleaning air vents, and these chemicals can be released into your home.

Biocides and Other Chemical Treatments

Some vent duct cleaning services claim that biocides and ozone treatments are necessary to clean bacteria, germs or mold from your air vents. There is little scientific evidence to support this practice. The EPA regulates chemical biocides, and very few have been approved for use inside duct work. Before you allow a vent cleaning service to apply biocides inside your ducts, ask to see the label and verify that the product has been approved for use in ductwork.

As with any professional service, ask for references and interview several air vent cleaning services before hiring.