I see lots of patients who have either had their air ducts cleaned or want to know if they should. I saw a big uptick in this about 5 years ago so I decided to do a little research on the matter. The best information I’ve found comes from the EPA. They have a great page devoted to the subject on their website. It is detailed and extensive. I recommend it highly. You can find it here.
The EPA site brings up a couple of important points. Most importantly, air duct cleaning has never been shown to prevent health problems. Furthermore, they state,
” Pollutants that enter the home both from outdoors and indoor activities such as cooking, cleaning, smoking, or just moving around can cause greater exposure to contaminants than dirty air ducts. Moreover, there is no evidence that a light amount of household dust or other particulate mater in air ducts poses any risk to your health.”
They recommend cleaning for three reasons: 1) Substantial visible mold growth, 2) Insect or vermin infestation(ew), or 3) Excessive dust and debris that is released into the home.
Since proper duct cleaning can run $500-$1000, you should be sure to do your homework before considering it.