Like any other air conditioning system, air ducts require regular maintenance to ensure maximum efficiency and optimal performance. The National Association of Air Duct Cleaners (NADCA) recommends cleaning air ducts every 3 to 5 years, although certain methods can extend this period to 6 to 8 years. In some environments, such as food manufacturing, quarterly, biannual, and annual duct cleaning services may be necessary due to the food particles they introduce into their systems, which can lead to mold and pest problems. The same is true for manufacturing operations that create combustible dust hazards.
To understand how often you should clean your air ducts, it's important to learn more about the process. You may want to consider cleaning the air ducts simply because it seems logical that the air ducts will become dirty over time and that they should be cleaned from time to time. As long as cleaning is done properly, there is no evidence to suggest that such cleaning is harmful. The EPA does not recommend that air ducts be cleaned routinely, but only when necessary. However, the EPA recommends that if you have a furnace, stove, or fireplace that burns fuel, they be inspected to see if they are working properly and maintained before each heating season to protect them from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Changing air filters frequently is the best way to keep dust, allergens, and other particles out of your home. With a newly installed system or a system in a house you just moved to, check the filter once a month to determine how quickly it gets dirty at different times of the year. Most should be replaced every two to three months. Poorly maintained heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems can harbor mold, fungi, bacteria, and other disease-carrying biological contaminants that are recirculated through forced air systems. Duct leaks can also cause the air conditioner to escape through the openings in the ducts, forcing the air conditioning system to run longer and consume more energy. No matter how diligent contractors are when it comes to cleaning and closing work areas to keep the rest of the work tidy, dust and dirt will always get into the ducts.
Therefore, it's important to understand how often you should clean your air ducts in order to maintain optimal performance.