When it comes to airflow and air quality, most people think of air filters and neglect their ducts. Dirty ducts can cause a whole host of issues. We will discuss a few of them here today.


Furnaces and air conditioners need a certain amount of airflow in order to heat and cool properly. When your ducts are filled with dust and debris, it slows the flow of air and can cause inefficiency. The photo below is of a clients’ actual return air duct. This client had a furnace which was ‘short cycling’. This refers to a condition where the furnace would not complete a full heating cycle and shut down prematurely. The furnace was sized correctly, overheating and going off on a high limit. She had a new filter, properly sized ducts, evaporator coil clean, gas pressure adjusted properly, blower speed correct, and still overheating. I put my camera into the return duct and revealed the ducts to be packed with 50 years of dust and debris. 

The sad part here is that this woman’s uneducated son thought he knew better and told her that dirty ducts couldn’t cause a furnace to overheat and advised his mother not to have the ducts cleaned and that it was a waste of money. He advised that replacing her 3-year old furnace was the correct option. Not a simple duct cleaning. I have learned not to be surprised or take offense to a mother taking a son’s advice (who lives in the basement and works at the local Walmart) over a professionals’. 

Air quality

Air quality is equally important to airflow. As in the example above, sadly the son did not even take air quality into consideration. If your ducts have that much debris in them, imagine when air is moving through them! A tornado of dust and debris blowing around the home can create all kinds of respiratory issues. If you don’t have a borescope camera and are wondering if your ducts may need to be cleaned, a simple thing you can do is remove your air filter or a register in one of your rooms in the home and look inside the duct with a flashlight, if it looks like the example below, you may want to have them cleaned.

On average, ducts should be cleaned every 5 years by a professional cleaning company. This will improve your air quality, reducing allergens and dust in the home, and may also reduce the frequency of air filter replacement. Airflow will also be greatly increased to your heating and cooling equipment. 

How much does it cost to get the ducts clean

Generally getting your home ducts cleaned will cost around $450-$500 on an average per system with discounts for additional systems within the same home. This cost will vary based on location.

Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top