To clean or not to clean. Ducting that is.
At least a few times a week I get a call asking about duct cleaning and if I recommend it. There are some exceptions but overall my answer is Heck NO! Why, you might ask? Well let me share with you a little story. I used to work for a company years ago and they did duct cleaning. So I asked the employees who did the duct cleaning if I could borrow the equipment when they weren’t using
it. What they told me was surprising, they told me not to bother. They said it wasn't worth the time it takes. I was under the impression that over time your ducts would get dirty and they should be cleaned every 5-10 years or so.
So take my conclusion with a grain of salty salt but consider this idea. So the reason you want to have the ducts cleaned is because you imagine there is dust in the ducting getting into the air that you breathe. Let's imagine there is 16 oz. of dust all together in the ducts. So over time IF that dust was getting into the air you breathe it would be depleting. And if it were constantly depleting here is the 65K question, how would it accumulate to begin with? My conclusion is simple. Whatever dust is in the ducting is stuck there and therefore you’re not breathing it. The AC / Furnace circulates the air on average of 4x per hour when it's running. So if you’re worried about dust then just get a good quality air filter and you should be fine. There are some exceptions but overall I would say if your home was built in the past 30 years and you have a well fitting air filter in a proper return air filter grille then you should be fine. One main exception is ducting that is under the house. If your supply registers are on the floor take one off and you may notice a lot of dirt has accumulated, especially in the kitchen. In that case you may have the ducts cleaned but also keep in mind that if its plastic flex ducting it can be damaged if its brittle and old. If its metal hard pipe ducting it may handle a cleaning better.
To check and see how dirty your ducts are, take off one supply air register and wipe the inside ducting with a damp white paper towel. This will give you an idea of the condition of the rest of the supply ducts. Then take out the air filter and do the same to the return air duct. This is where the air goes in so it will be the dirtiest duct. For most air conditioners I service, if I were to perform both of these tests I would find very little dust. Do this test yourself, if you ask a company that does duct cleaning they will most likely just say you should get it.
For do it yourself A/C maintenance tips check out this link https://www.sierraaire.com/a-c-maintanance-you-can-do
If you have any questions or want to set up service please call (916) 671-5542