Most of the time, air duct cleaning along with HVAC unit cleaning is a household maintenance item that can be taken care of and scheduled at a homeowner’s discretion. There are, however at least two situations where servicing air ducts rises to the level of an emergency where one cannot wait.
The purpose of the HVAC ducts is to pull air from the house, and return it after it is heated or cooled. An excellent duct system always improves the efficiency of your HVAC system. Unfortunately, its design also makes the ducts excellent smoke conductors in the event of a fire. Even fires contained to a small area inside your house can contaminate your entire duct system with smoke particles. This means that after a fire, your heating and cooling system will continue to spread smoke smell and smoke particles throughout your house unless the ducts are cleaned. Even worse, smoke particles are attracted to metal, and corrosive, which means that if smoke particles are left on any of your metal air ducts, they will eat the metal away, requiring not just a duct cleaning, but air duct repair as well. Before you begin living in your house after a fire, get the ducts inspected, cleaned and if necessary repaired.
2. After a Flood.
Water can be deadly to a duct system in at least two ways. First, standing water in a tight, enclosed space such as a duct encourages the growth of mold, some varieties of which cause allergies or worse illness in humans. Even if floodwaters did not go high enough to enter your ducts, the additional moisture introduced into your house through the evaporation of the floodwaters can cause standing water in your ducts. Cleaning your air ducts after a flood is essential to remove any standing water and to evaluate whether any mold problems have developed in the ducts. Second, if your vents are made out of fiberglass materials, standing water will damage them, require their replacement. A duct inspection will be required to determine which ducts need to be repaired. The sooner the inspection and cleaning is done after a flood, the less time there is for the system to develop problems.