Should You Get Your Air Ducts Sanitized? A Comprehensive Guide

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not recommend that air ducts be cleaned routinely, but only when necessary. This is especially true for furnaces, stoves, and fireplaces that burn fuel, as they should be inspected for proper functioning and maintained before each heating season to protect them from carbon monoxide poisoning. At AmeriClean, our answer when asked if air ducts should be treated to prevent contamination is: No. Our air duct cleaning technicians use the source extraction cleaning method in all of our residential, commercial, and industrial air duct cleaning projects, so our cleaning not only removes dust and debris from inside the air ducts, but also removes contaminants that may be inside.

So, should you get your air ducts sanitized? While there's no definite answer, most experts recommend cleaning and disinfecting air ducts every two to three years. This will ensure that they are free of harmful contaminants and will help improve indoor air quality. However, you can disinfect your ducts every six months. Your air duct cleaner will just need to make sure that no dust or debris builds up before spraying.

Air duct disinfection includes the application of disinfectant or antimicrobial products to the surface of an air duct, usually during cleaning. The application of disinfectant agents eliminates harmful bacteria and microbes present in the ducts, preventing them from developing and spreading through the air. Most air duct disinfection services use a topical application, and a nebulizer or other professional tools are usually used to evenly cover the duct surface. Duct cleaning isn't necessarily a bad idea, but the truth is that it's not necessary in most cases.

In fact, cleaning normally dusty ducts provides no real value. If done correctly, duct cleaning can be useful in limited situations. The National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) recommends cleaning the ducts as part of the general cleaning of the air conditioning system, which includes cleaning and replacing the air filter, cleaning the grilles and diffusers, checking if the trays and drain pipes are well drained, checking the heat exchanger and cooling coils, the grills, the oven air chamber, the fan motor, etc. Often, while searching for an air duct cleaning contractor, customers talk to companies that insist that air ducts be disinfected after cleaning.

Here's what duct cleaning does, as well as some of the myths about what duct cleaning doesn't really do: It does not improve indoor air quality; it does not reduce energy costs; it does not reduce allergens; it does not reduce dust levels. Unlike dryer duct cleaning, which must be checked and cleaned regularly, no objective, independent organization recommends cleaning air conditioning ducts as an essential part of routine air conditioning system maintenance. There are different ways to clean and disinfect air ducts, but the most effective method is to hire a professional air duct cleaning company. Part of the confusion surrounding duct cleaning services is that duct cleaning is often included as part of the overall cleaning of the HVAC system.

To learn more about duct cleaning costs and what cleaning entails, don't hesitate to check out previous Filterbuy articles on cleaning central air ducts. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency states that “the EPA does not recommend cleaning air ducts, except when necessary due to continuing uncertainty about the benefits of duct cleaning, in most circumstances.

In fact

, since the only time when it is necessary to clean the ducts, is when they are contaminated; it follows that if you need to clean the ducts, you must clean the entire air conditioning system that comes into contact with the air that circulates through the ducts. Duct and air conditioning system cleaning, by a person trained and certified by the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA), is more likely to be done safely.

However, there are several widespread myths about duct cleaning, that need to be clarified before considering whether duct cleaning, is really the best option for keeping air conditioning in optimal condition.

Lorena Proulx
Lorena Proulx

Freelance web fanatic. Freelance coffee specialist. Lifelong social media nerd. Amateur bacon trailblazer. Lifelong tv aficionado.