Today we’re talking about whether the ductwork in your home should be cleaned or not.

What Does Ductwork Do?

The ductwork is there to move air through the home—cool air in the summer, warm air in the winter. Return ducts remove air for heating or air conditioning and supply ducts deliver the filtered air back to the living spaces.

We’re moving a lot of air and it could be flowing through some pretty dirty ducts.

What Makes Ductwork Dirty?

Dirt and dust are your main culprits, but it could be a lot worse.


If there is any visible mold growth inside of your ducts or on other parts of your HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system, you should have your ducts cleaned as soon as possible.

It’s important to hire a reputable HVAC company to inspect your ducts to tell if you do indeed have mold. Even so, you should be aware that lots of things look like mold that aren’t. For complete accuracy, send a mold sample to a certified laboratory for confirmation.

Sometimes, if the duct insulation gets wet or moldy, you will have to remove and replace it. It’s normally not possible to clean mold from insulation material.

Vermin (Rodents or Insects)

Mice and rats love to take up residence around ductwork, sometimes making nests using insulation material. Pay attention to any noises in the ductwork, rodent droppings, and bad rotting carcass smells.

The faster you respond, the better it will be. If you suspect a pest problem, contact a professional.

Large Amounts of Dirt, Dust, and Debris

If there are excessive amounts of dirt, dust, debris, hair, and particles in your ductwork, there may be a variety of things at play.

Dirty air could be bypassing the filter. There may have been renovation work done without covering the supply and return vents. Maybe you neglected annual HVAC maintenance. You might be missing a grille for one of your vents.

Whatever the cause, you will want to contact a reputable company to find and fix the cause of your dirty ducts before cleaning them.

You can help maintain clean air ducts by regularly changing your air filter and scheduling annual air conditioning maintenance in the spring and furnace maintenance in the fall.

If you notice any evidence of pests, mold, or excessive stuff inside your ductwork, you should have those ducts professionally cleaned as soon as possible.

But first you need to find and fix the underlying cause.

Fix the Underlying Problem

If there are signs of pest, mold, or excessive particles in the ductwork, you need to get rid of the conditions that caused the problem in the first place. Before any cleaning takes place, take care of the underlying issue.

If you don’t solve the underlying cause, you’ll end up having to clean the ducts over and over again.

When you call OnTime Service for your professional duct cleaning, we will inspect your ductwork and walk you through all the steps for a comprehensive solution.

We will assess if your ductwork has any of the signs we’ve outlined above and if you do, what caused it and what needs to be done to take care of it.

If you’re in the Birmingham area, simply contact OnTime Service. We have years upon years of experience cleaning and inspecting ductwork.

If you are outside the Birmingham area, you can probably find a reputable company by:

Contacting friends and relatives
Looking up online reviews
Searching for the company on Better Business Bureau


OnTime Service provides home evaluations and professional IAQ solutions for your home, including duct cleaning and duct sealing.

Give us a call at 205-942-1405 or schedule service online.

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