How frequent should you clean your air ducts? The short answer is from three to five years, depending on the amount of dust in your home, dander and hair from pets or an event that would trigger air duct cleaning requirements. The best way to confirm whether you need your air ducts cleaned is to check around your air vents and also the filter area.

If your air vents show signs of dust or even mold it is time to have your all of your ducts cleaned. Check around your cold air return vents for signs of dust buildup as well as around the hot air vents. Remove one of the grilles and using a flashlight observe whether there is a buildup of dust in the duct.


Most furnace and HVAC manufacturers recommend that you change the filters in your system once a year or even more often if you live in dusty conditions or if there is lots of pet hair etc. When you change the filter, examine the filter to determine whether there is a buildup of dust etc.. Check the motor compartment also. If there is dust or pet hair accumulating, you may need your ducts cleaned as well.

Other Triggers for air duct cleaning

New Home Construction – during construction of new homes a great deal of drywall dust and even garbage can settle into the vents. You may have cigarette butts, soft drink cans etc. in the ducts. Needless to say it is a good idea to have all of the vents cleaned before you turn on your furnace or HVAC for the first time.

Major Renovations – if you have just completed renovations in your home, chances are that some dust will have collected in the ducts via the cold air return. If the renovation work is underway during a time when the furnace fan is running, not only will there be dust in the system, you may find that a fine dust has percolated throughout your home. You may need a thorough cleaning of the floors as well as the ducts in a situation like this.

Damp Conditions – In some cases, mold spores can develop in damp basements and find their way into the cooling or heating system. If this is the case consumers should hire a duct cleaning company who specializes in removing mold from the ducts.

Residents with Allergies – During the spring and summer, windows are open, our pets are in and out and our family comes and go. We all track dust and pollen into the home. On windy days a great deal of pollen can be blown into the house if you have your windows open. Although there are no studies to support duct cleaning will help consumers who suffer from allergies, many will have their ducts cleaned at the end of the prime pollen season.

Typically, a clean home will not need duct cleaning as often, unless there are circumstances as mentioned above. Evaluate your home, lifestyle and decide the best course of action with respect to duct cleaning for your family.