You are wondering about cleaning the air ducts of your forced air system in your home. Can it really make that much of a difference? Does duct cleaning make your home indoor air quality better? What are the advantages and disadvantages?

The bottom line is no one really knows for sure if cleaning air ducts does prevent health problems. There are contaminants that can get into your air ducts and the duct system can serve as a means to carry them throughout your home. In these cases, duct cleaning would be a wise investment in your home to make it healthier. However, duct cleaning is not a part of your yearly maintenance of your heating and cooling system like changing your filters and regular cleaning of drain pans and coils. There is, however, continued research on the benefits of air duct cleaning.

In the meantime according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, follow these simple practices to keep your air ducts in good working condition and free from any moisture, dirt and contaminants:

Correct any water leaks or standing water.

¨ Remove standing water under cooling coils of air handling units by making sure that drain pans slope toward the drain.

¨ If humidifiers are used, they must be properly maintained.

¨ Air handling units should be constructed so that maintenance personnel have easy, direct access to heat exchange components and drain pans for proper cleaning and maintenance.

¨ Fiber glass, or any other insulation material that is wet or visibly moldy (or if an odor is present) should be removed and replaced by a qualified heating and cooling system contractor.

¨ Steam cleaning and other methods involving moisture should not be used on any kind of duct work.

When hiring a qualified contractor to clean your ducts do your homework! Get recommendations from friends and family, get at least three quotes, check out the potential remodeler through the local Better Business Bureau and try to speak with someone who has had this service done and if they were pleased with the results.