Many clients ask me about duct cleaning... Whether it is a "good thing" to do, and how effective it is.
I had this same question several years ago after doing an extensive renovation to my own home. Throughout the construction I was very careful to turn off the furnace/fan when I could, I covered registers and return ducts in rooms were were working, etc... When all the dust cleared (from construction), we were still left with a quite a bit of dust in the ducts.
So, I decided to give duct cleaners the test. I called and researched several companies; looking at before/after photos on there websites, etc... which to me looked too good to be true on some websites!
I decided on a company and the day before they came into our home, I took the end off the main return duct and took photos (for the purpose of this blog I'm not including all the photos), and did the same in the sub-slab ducts. The company came in and the employees were very courteous, and seemed very thorough...
After paying close to $400, I went back to work... I took the end off the return duct and took photos, and took photos in the sub-slab ducts...and I was amazed. The debris that was in the areas I photographed was all still there, just moved around a little; nothing like the company's "after" photographs. Now, I didn't do this to expose anyone, but used it as a learning experience for me and my clients; so I didn't complain to the company.
I then went to my local retailer and purchased extra hose for my shop vac, and went back to work. I turned off my furnace, and cleaned out the main return duct and sub-slab ducts properly, then took off all the returns in the rooms and did the same. When I was done, I felt my ducts had been properly cleaned. Please note: This is not a blanket "do your own duct cleaning" blog... if you don't know what you are doing, you can get create more problems than it's worth.
So, should you or shouldn't you have your ducts cleaned? It's a personal preference. I do have to include that the company/team I hired may have had a "bad day"... But, if you are purchasing a home that has had several pets or some construction, it might not be a bad idea to ask for the ducts to be cleaned. I tell clients, "it's a good idea to look at the furnace filter and into a few floor registers when you are going through a home; you may see some of what you'll be breathing...."
Me?...I'll probably do my own cleaning from now on.
ASHI Certified, Pinnacle Inspections strives to give our clients the best reporting and advice. They regularly ask "how" to get things done, and hopefully we can share some useful tips or products on this blog.