When done properly by professionals, air duct cleaning is a safe process. However, there are some potential safety concerns to be aware of:
High levels of dust can be stirred up during the cleaning process, especially when vacuuming ducts. Workers should wear dust masks and goggles, and containment procedures should be followed to prevent dust from spreading throughout the home. People and pets should leave the home during cleaning to avoid dust exposure.
Disturbing mold in air ducts can release mold spores into the air. Workers must wear protective equipment and follow containment procedures to prevent exposure. Mold remediation may be needed before cleaning to eliminate mold growth.
Some companies use biocides, disinfectants, or other chemicals during duct cleaning. These chemicals need to be applied properly to avoid exposure risks. The effectiveness of these chemical treatments is debated.
Unlicensed or inexperienced contractors may use faulty or improperly maintained equipment that poses safety risks. Reputable companies use sealed vacuums, containment barriers, and other professionally maintained machines.
Lack of permits, insurance, certification
Contractors operating without proper licenses, permits, insurance, and certifications pose risks. Reputable companies will have all required documentation to prove their legitimacy and competence.
Workers climbing on roofs and crawling through tight spaces inside ducts face injury risks like falls, cuts, and burns. Proper safety equipment, training, and procedures can mitigate these risks.
In summary, air duct cleaning can be performed safely when done by licensed professionals following proper containment and safety procedures. Do your research to hire a reputable, certified company so you can be confident duct cleaning will be performed safely in your home.
Knowledge about air duct cleaning is in its early stages, so a blanket recommendation cannot be offered as to whether you should have your air ducts in your home cleaned. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) urges you to read this document in it entirety as it provides important information on the subject.