The Importance of Duct Cleaning

In addition to our recent expansion into the home management arena, Hawthorn Builders has begun offering duct cleaning services to homeowners.  As part of the home building process, we found that our customer’s ducts often needed to be cleaned before the home could or should be occupied.  During the construction process, the ductwork can become overwhelmed by debris, so we consider it to be a best practice to remove anything that has entered the HVAC system prior to occupation.  This portion of our business has grown through organic, word-of-mouth referrals.  As we commenced service to both existing and new customers, we found that there were a lot of misconceptions about the duct cleaning industry both on a pricing basis and whether it was necessary to do at all.

In terms of whether it is necessary to have your ducts cleaned, it is first important to understand that duct cleaning generally refers to the cleaning of various heating and cooling components of forced air systems, including the supply and return air ducts and registers, grilles and diffusers, heat exchangers heating and cooling coils, condensate drain pans (drip pans), fan motor and fan housing, and the air handling unit housing.  Any dirt and debris trapped in the HVAC system should usually be removed not only for the quality of the indoor air, but for the efficiency of the system itself. 

To further this point, The National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) rule of thumb for consumers is that “if your ducts look dirty, they probably are,” and that dirty HVAC systems should be inspected by a reputable professional.  In addition, per the NADCA, here are some additional facts to consider:

Indoor Air Quality duct-cleaning

In a typical six-room home, up to 40 pounds of dust is created annually through everyday living. Your heating and cooling system is the lungs of your home. The system takes air in and breathes air out.  Through normal occupation in a home, we generate a great deal of contaminants and air pollutants, such as dander, dust, and chemicals. These contaminants are pulled into the HVAC system and re-circulated five to seven times per day, on average.  Over time, this re-circulation causes a build-up of contaminants in the duct work.

Energy Savings

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 25 to 40 percent of the energy used for heating or cooling a home is wasted. Contaminants in the heating and cooling system cause it to work harder and shorten the life of the system. Although filters are used, the heating and cooling system still gets dirty through normal use.  When an HVAC system is clean, it doesn’t have to work as hard to maintain the temperature you desire.  As a result, less energy is used, leading to improved cost-effectiveness.

The pricing for the service is erratic and can depend on the services offered, the size of the system to be cleaned, system accessibility, climatic region, and level of contamination.  There are also potential scams out there.  Check out this Dateline NBC video illustrating this point.  Ultimately, the only way to establish a fair price is to sit down with a professional to review the home’s system.

Hopefully this blog has shed some light on the duct cleaning industry.  For additional reading, the EPA has published Indoor Air Quality: An Introduction for Health Professionals and The Inside Story: A Guide to Indoor Air Quality for guidance on identifying possible indoor air quality problems and ways to prevent or fix them.

If you are interested in having your duct work cleaned or having Hawthorn Builders provide you with a quote, please contact us at 781-707-6564 or email us at admin@hawthornre.com.