Is Duct Cleaning a Waste of Money? Pros and Cons

Evelyn Long

Nov 23, 2022


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Many commercial cleaning services now offer air duct cleanings for homeowners. The companies tend to tout benefits like improved air quality, less odor and improved heating and air conditioning efficiency. However, there are as many arguments against the practice well, with some claiming it’s a waste of money. Let’s go through duct cleaning’s pros and cons.

What are Ducts?

Your home’s air ducts are the pathways that transport heated and cooled air through your home. It also removes air from your home to filter it, keeping circulation going. 

When your intake vents capture air from your home, it transports it through ducts to your filter, which cleans the air before allowing your heating, ventilation and cooling systems to heat or cool it. Once those processes are complete, the air goes through additional ducts to your air vents. 

There’s debate about the need to clean your ducts. Here are the pros and cons of duct cleaning. 

Pros of Duct Cleaning

Many homeowners enjoy getting their ducts cleaned yearly, as it can remove the dust and dirt sitting in their system. 

The Environmental Protection Agency suggests duct cleaning to remedy the following situations. 

  • Mold – If you have confirmed mold in your ducts, a cleaning can assist you in removing it. Having mold in your ducts can contaminate your air and cause serious illness. Mold can induce conditions like asthma, sinusitis and hypersensitivity pneumonitis.  
  • Excessive Dirt and Debris – While some dirt and debris are handled by your furnace filter, a buildup could require a deeper cleaning. Removing these contaminants can help your air circulate more easily and prevent allergens from re-entering your living space. 
  • Rodents – If mice, moles or rats get into your ducts, cleaning is a good idea to eliminate them. The smell of cleaning products combined with the removal of any nesting materials can be a vital part of stopping them from returning. 

These issues can make duct cleaning necessary, but there are reasons to avoid it in other circumstances. 

Cons of Duct Cleaning 

Regular duct cleaning may not be necessary for your home and could even be detrimental. 

There are multiple cons to duct cleaning. 

  • Lack of Evidence – While many services claim that there are significant health and wellness benefits, science has yet to prove that’s true. There is no evidence connecting regular air duct cleaning to a healthier home. 
  • Cost – Air duct cleaning can get pretty pricey, making it hard to afford. Cleaning for a 2,000-square-foot home can cost, on average up to $800. 
  • Potential Damage – Certain types of air ducts can be fragile. If your home has solid sheet metal, flexible or AlumaFlex ductwork, a cleaning could lead to expensive repair or replacement. 

These issues can be reasons to postpone or cancel any future duct cleanings unless it’s actually necessary. 

Is it a Waste of Money?

For many, the decision to get a duct cleaning won’t lead to harm, regardless of the choice made. However, there are some circumstances that make duct cleaning necessary. On the other hand, fragile ducts and affordability could make it necessary to avoid cleanings. 

Whether duct cleaning is a waste of money depends on both your preferences and your home’s needs.

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