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The Health & Safety Benefits of Duct & HVAC Cleaning in Your Home

Dirty air ducts have been linked with health issues like respiratory infections, allergies, and asthma. Unfortunately, cleaning air ducts has never proven successful at preventing such issues as they come from multiple sources in and outside the house, such as cooking, cleaning, and smoking – not just through air ducts but other means as well.

Air pollutants found in home duct systems include pet dander, chemicals, mold spores and mildews that become trapped there and then circulated throughout the home on an ongoing basis recirculate throughout, often aggravating allergies or serious respiratory conditions for those already sensitive. This may exacerbate asthmatic symptoms as well.

Most homes generate up to 40 pounds of dust annually in their ductwork, some from daily household activities as well as from animals, plants and food items in the home. Pollution outside can enter through heating/cooling system vents into homes where it settles into the ductwork where contaminants collect before being recirculated 5-7 times daily – creating the ideal breeding ground for bacteria, mold, and fungus growth.

Duct cleaning can remove debris from ductwork and vents as well as registers and diffusers in each room of your house, using powerful vacuums to remove contaminants that could recirculate in your home.

Just like allergens, stale odors can also accumulate in ductwork. This may be caused by paint fumes, cigarette smoke, cooking and cleaning products and food particles recirculating back through your house despite your best efforts at opening windows and spraying air fresheners; in extreme cases this recirculation could even come from dead rodents trapped within ducts which have decomposed. Duct cleaning will eliminate this smell to restore freshness to the home environment.

Professional duct cleaners may suggest additional sanitization steps such as duct sanitization. This process uses high concentrations of ozone to kill mold, mildew, and other organisms; however, unless conditions that initially caused the mold growth are addressed directly then this problem is likely to resurface.

Stale Smells

Food, paint fumes, cleaning products and mildew odors often get trapped in air ducts before being circulated throughout a home, leading to discomfort for family members as they live nearby. People suffering from allergies or asthma may also have difficulty breathing when these foul smells are present – however professional duct cleaners have high-powered vacuums and tools designed specifically to reach difficult areas to eliminate these unpleasant aromas effectively.

Musty smells are often indicative of mold and mildew growth in ductwork, and are an urgent health risk that should be dealt with immediately by using professional duct cleaners to address (source: Once all mold and mildew have been removed from ducts and evaporator coils, the odor should fade.

Dead animals in the ductwork are another cause of unpleasant odor. Rodents, birds and bats seek warmth during cold weather by seeking refuge inside your ductwork; when they die they expel rancid or putrid odors that cannot be eliminated through opening windows and air fresheners alone. Professional duct cleaners use special equipment to locate the source of this smell while killing any remaining pests that could remain.

Pet dander from current or past residents can accumulate in your ductwork and then disperse throughout the home, creating respiratory problems for family members with allergies or asthma. Animal dander also sticks to dust and grime within the ductwork of a home’s ductwork, providing an ideal breeding ground for bacteria or harmful fungus growth.

Musty or rancid smells could also indicate that there’s an odorous gas leak somewhere in your home, as natural gas itself is odorless; however, an uncovered leak in ductwork could send off unpleasant aromas into the atmosphere of your living space. A professional duct cleaner should be able to quickly identify where there’s an issue and quickly take steps to repair it as soon as possible.

Health Issues

Dust and other contaminants left accumulating in your duct will be released into the air during its circulation throughout your home, irritating the throat, nose, and eyes as well as aggravating respiratory conditions like asthma.

According to this article – fungi and bacteria found within ductwork can release airborne spores that can trigger various health-related problems, including cognitive issues. Long-term exposure to toxic mold can result in brain fog, confusion and memory problems as well as mood swings as well as physical symptoms that cause fatigue or physical illness.

Professional duct cleaning services scrub the surfaces of ductwork while using special agitation tools to eliminate microbial growth. Care should be taken to avoid any ductwork damage, while vents are thoroughly cleaned. Before inviting anyone into your home for the appointment, ensure they know what they can expect; be mindful that there may be noise and movement surrounding the vents, while being available to answer questions and show where all vents can be found in your home.


Cleaning your air ducts reduces energy use from heating and cooling equipment to distribute air conditioning throughout your house, especially beneficial in winter when energy costs are at their peak.

Cleaning your ducts regularly can also help prevent issues with mildew, mold and other microorganisms that accumulate within air ducts. An experienced technician can remove and clean components such as grilles, coils, registers, drip pans and more of your AC system as part of a comprehensive duct cleaning.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) both recommend that you hire an experienced contractor who utilizes NADCA’s best practices for cleaning. A licensed duct cleaning technician will then conduct an inspection to make sure everything has been done appropriately. But also, a licensed contractor will use brushes and compressed air equipment to dislodge dirt and debris from within your ductwork before using a vacuum collection system to collect it all – something you won’t have at home.

Keep in mind that duct cleaning has never been shown to prevent health problems, and has not demonstrated that particle (e.g., dust) levels rise due to dirty ducts or decrease as a result of cleaning them. Other sources of particles exist within homes; having your ducts professionally cleaned won’t guarantee elimination from having other forms of maintenance and cleaning completed as well.


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About the Author

Kaya Wittenburg

Blog Author and CEO

Kaya Wittenburg is the Founder and CEO of Sky Five Properties. Since the age of 10, real estate has been deeply ingrained into his thoughts. With world-class negotiation and deal-making skills, he brings a highly impactful presence into every transaction that he touches.

He is here to help you use real estate as a vehicle to develop your own personal empire and feel deeply satisfied along the way. If you have an interest in buying, selling or renting property in South Florida, contact Kaya today.

Feel free to call me at: (305) 357-0635
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