Air Ducts and a Home Warranty
Did you know there's something exceptionally dirty and dusty hiding inside of your walls right now? Yes, that's right, on the inside of your walls. Any idea what it is? If you guessed dirt and dust build-up on the inside of your air ducts, you're exactly right. Almost every home has a build-up of dirt and dust within the HVAC system and ductwork. However, just because there is dirt and dust within your air ducts, it doesn't mean that you have to go out and get them cleaned. In fact, some people would go so far as to say that air duct cleaning companies are scamming individuals out of their money! In this article Landmark Home Warranty takes closer look at air duct cleaning services.
Why is there Dust in my Air Ducts?
To begin, we have to understand why your air ducts have dirt and debris in them in the first place. Many homeowners are confused and want to clean out their air ducts when they hear they have a build-up of dust inside of them. (Especially when those people have a home warranty and want to be maintaining their home!) Obviously, that means that the dirt and dust is being blown into the air inside of the home and into the air they breathe, right? Not necessarily!
Air naturally contains dirt, dust, and microbes. When this air is pushed through your HVAC system to cool or heat the home, most of the dust it contains is trapped by a filter inside of the HVAC system. Yet some of that dust does escape into the duct work of the system. When this happens, the ductwork in the HVAC system acts as a long, drawn-out filter. The dirt and the dust gets stuck to the sides of the ducts and isn't blown out into the air you breathe.
What is Air Duct Cleaning?
Many air duct-cleaning companies say that by cleaning out the dust in the ductwork of a home, they can reduce allergies and improve the efficiency of a HVAC system. Although satisfied homeowners back up some of these claims, the Environmental Protection Agency has concluded that cleaning ductwork does not actually improve the quality of air within a home. If you have a home warranty, providing HVAC maintenance is important for its efficiency, but getting a tune-up will provide better results than air duct cleaning.
When to Get your Air Ducts Cleaned
That doesn't mean that air duct cleaning is something you never have to worry about. The EPA advises duct cleaning for a few specific instances:
- If there is visible and certified mold within the home. (Please look at the scams below when dealing with possible mold within your ductwork.)
- If the ductwork is infested with insects or rodents.
- If there is a visible amount of dust coming out of the ductwork when air is blowing through it.
- If there is a large amount of dust or debris that is clogging the ductwork.
The NADCA (The HVAC Inspection, Maintenance, and Restoration Association) advise having your air ducts cleaned every 3 to 5 years, or if you complete a home remodeling project, or when building a new home.
From a home warranty standpoint, providing maintenance to your home's systems always helps you get the most out of a home warranty, however, Landmark suggests sticking to the EPA's guidelines.
Scams To Watch Out for with Air Duct Cleaning
Unfortunately, some air duct cleaning companies are less than reputable, and have made national news for how many online complaints they accrue. Most of these businesses take advantage of homeowners with bait-and-switch pricing. According to a Dateline episode, some of these companies advertise extremely low prices ($50 for air duct cleaning) only to come to the home, clean half of the air ducts and then ask for hundreds of dollars more to finish the job. Michele Mason of the Better Business Bureau advises that the lowest price most likely isn't the best company to go with. Most air duct cleaning prices range between $400 to $800 depending on the size of the home.
Another scam is finding mold inside of the ductwork. The EPA advises that if an air duct cleaner does find mold to take a sample and find a laboratory who will determine what the substance is and if it is dangerous. The EPA also warns that mold inside of ductwork is a sign of leaking insulation and needs to be replaced, not just cleaned.
If you decide to get your air ducts cleaned, find a reputable company through the BBB or ask your home warranty. Many air duct-cleaning companies will provide exceptional service, but it won't be the companies who are advertising extremely cheap prices.
Exceptionally Dirty Air Ducts Could be a Sign of Other Problems
If you do have an exceptional build-up of dust and debris within your ductwork, it could be a sign of other issues within your home. It could be a faulty or dirty air filter that hasn't been changed, which could reduce your HVAC system's lifespan and make it impossible to cover wit ha home warranty. It also may be a crack in the ductwork itself. It's a good idea to get your ductwork inspected, especially because you will be able to file that with your home warranty and be able to get any failures on your HVAC system covered, as long as it fails from normal wear and tear.
If you're interested in a home warranty to repair and replace your systems and appliances when they fail from normal wear and tear, take a look at www.landmarkhw.com. Landmark Home Warranty provides excellent service and comprehensive coverage.