Should I have my ductwork cleaned?

Should I have my ductwork cleaned?

Apr 22, 2021

Ahh, the age-old homeownership question, “Should I clean my air ducts?”  Like many pieces of life advice there is not a black and white answer.  First, why do you think you might need your ducts cleaned?  There are many things that come to mind that folks have told me why they thought so.  You might feel or have been told it will help with your allergies.  You might see stuff on the ceiling by the AC vents.  You could have an air conditioning technician tell you they should be cleaned, I’ve even seen carpet cleaning companies that advertise air duct cleaning.  Having your air ducts cleaned can mean lots of different things: duct sanitization, duct vacuuming, Rotobrush cleaning, installation of a purification system, or even replacement and redesign of the complete air duct system.  Let’s learn what these are so you can decide if you should have your air ducts “cleaned.”


Duct Sanitization – this is a process of spraying a disinfectant into the air conditioning system with the air handler blower running.


Duct Vacuuming – this process consists of cutting a hole in the air ducts and hooking a vacuum machine to the ductwork and “vacuuming”  the air backward through the air ducts.


Rotobrush Cleaning – removal of the ceiling vents and feeding a spinning vacuum brush into every vent to disturb the dirt and vacuum it up.


Purification System – installation of a device like an ultraviolet sterilizer or induct oxidation system kill bacteria inside your air conditioner or ductwork.

All of the processes listed have pros and cons, find a useful list below.


Duct Sanitization: 

  • Pros: inexpensive, can be performed on a routine basis, non-invasive, takes only a few minutes to complete, most any a/c tech can perform the work
  • Cons: only keeps clean ductwork clean from mold and bacteria, does not remove physical debris