Should You Get Your Ducts Cleaned?



The mention of air pollution invokes images of dark smoke pouring out of factory chimneys and smoggy city skylines. However, the air inside most homes is actually more “polluted” than the air outside! According to American Lung Association, not only is the air inside our home more contaminated, it can make us sick. Which begs the question, how often should you get your ducts cleaned?


You Should Get Your Ducts Cleaned Every 3 to 5 Years According to Some

duct cleaning near gilbert azHow often you should get your ducts cleaned depends on who you ask. According to duct cleaning association, NADCA and their members, you should get your ducts cleaned every three to five years. However, as a BPI Certified Building Analyst I can say that’s not always true. In fact, I’m both an indoor air quality expert, and someone with lung disease. The last time I cleaned my air ducts was over 7-years ago!

My company, Magic Touch Mechanical completes several hundred duct cleaning projects every year. So, I own the equipment, have a diagnosed lung disease, and haven’t cleaned my ducts in years.


Sealing Air Duct Leaks Will Keep Your Ducts Cleaner Longer

If you’re car’s gas tank was leaking, would you repair the leak or just keep adding more gas? The same logic applies to your home’s air conditioning & heating system ductwork. If your ducts need cleaning every few years, you need to figure out why – and fix the problem!

PRO TIP: The number one source of dirty ducts is duct leaks.

Duct leaks not only allow dirty attic and wall-chase air to enter your home (and lungs), they’re costing you money. I’m not talking about big gaping holes and disconnected ductwork. The majority of duct sealing projects Magic Touch Mechanical completes annually are leaking through many small leaks throughout the ductwork.

PRO TIP: Most duct leaks can’t be detected by a visual inspection.

The only way to verify and quantify how much a home duct system is leaking is by performing duct testing. Magic Touch Mechanical uses a variety of tools to test a duct system for air leakage. One of these tools is known as a duct blaster. Another is combining the use of a blower door with pressure pans.

With all of these tools, the process is similar. By pressurizing the air ducts, we can determine the exact total leakage. In some cases, the use of a fogger and/or smoke pencil are utilized to pinpoint individual duct leaks.

In most cases, once duct leaks are sealed, they’re sealed forever. Thereby reducing how often you should get your ducts cleaned.



You Should Get Your Ducts Cleaned When They’re Dirty!

I know how that sounds, and I know you just said; “uh, no kidding”! So, let me explain how you can tell when your ducts need to be cleaned.

PRO TIP: First things first, if you’re not positive your ductwork has been leak-tested and sealed, do that first! If your ducts have air leaks – you need duct cleaning. Your return duct (where your air filters are located) is like a powerful vacuum. Even small leaks in a return duct will suck dirt and dust directly into your air ducts. 

Once your ducts are sealed, the main source for dirt, dust and contaminants to enter are airborne particles. In other words, whatever is floating around the air in your home. These contaminants get in through doors, windows, humans, pets, and infiltration (leaks around your home).


What to Look for to Know If You Should Have Your Ducts Cleaned

If one or more of the five things below apply to you, it’s probably a sign you need to schedule duct cleaning.  

  • Dirt or dust buildup on your air vents are a sign you should get your ducts cleaned.
  • Your home requires frequent dusting.
  • People smoke cigarettes inside your home you should have your ducts cleaned every three to five years – regardless if your ducts are sealed.
  • You have “floaties” in the air that you can see with the naked eye.
  • If you or your family are allergy sufferers or have known breathing disorders you should have your ducts cleaned more frequently. Follow the 3 to 5-year rule.



6 Tips to Reduce How Often You Should Get Your Ducts Cleaned

I started this article by sharing that I haven’t cleaned my ducts in seven years. As you may have guessed, my air ducts have already been leak-tested and sealed. However, that’s not the only reason my ducts have stayed clean this long. I’ve implemented all of the following tips in my own home – as well as Magic Touch Mechanical’s offices in Mesa, AZ.

  • HEPA Air Filtration– Hospital-grade HEPA air filters will trap airborne contaminants and stop them from recirculating back into your home.
  • Use a good “bagged” vacuum cleaner– typically bagged vacuum cleaners are better than bag-less at trapping and holding small contaminants. I recommend the Kenmore 31140 Pet & Allergy Friendly Bagged Upright or similar.
  • UV Lights– Having a UV light like the Air Scrubber Plus will kill airborne contaminants as they pass through it. Or try to pass through it anyway!
  • Weatherproofing– Regularly inspect and replace or adjust weather-stripping around doors and windows.
  • Seal Your Attic Hatch– If you have attic hatches (scuttle holes) inside your conditioned space, install an Attic Tent.
  • Home Air Sealing / Attic Sealing– Sealing the air leaks in your attic and wall chases will prevent outside air from common air infiltration. PRO TIP: Start with a home energy audit which will test and pinpoint where this is necessary.



Duct Cleaning Near Mesa – Chandler – Tempe – Gilbert AZ

If you live in the Phoenix Metro area (within a 35-mile radius of Mesa, AZ), just call Magic Touch Mechanical! We’ll help you get, and keep your air ducts clean! Check out our coupons for current duct cleaning specials. 

Magic Touch Mechanical is a highly rated, full-service air conditioning & heating company. We offer all of the services and products mentioned in this article – except vacuum cleaners!


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