Hi Willy, hope all is well.
Question - Do you think I should get my central air vents cleaned? The ones that run through the home? Thanks!
Willy's Reply: The short answer is NO. If your A/C ducts are made of plastic, they cannot be cleaned, and cleaning may damage the plastic liners. If they are metal, they may have some type of insulation inside them that can be damaged if cleaned. Even if they are unlined metal ducts, there have been studies that show if left undisturbed, dirt and dust that builds up inside ducts develops a hard shell over it. This shell harmless unless disturbed by cleaning and sometimes cleaning releases more dust and mold spores into the air.
Now there are conditions where you should clean the ducts - If there has been a fire in the home, it’s a way of helping to get rid of the smoke smell. If there is a continuing mold problem, then definitely clean the ducts. If there is a high moisture problem in the basement, the moisture can support mold growth inside the ducts.
The best thing you can do is change your air filters in the heat and A/C system about every two to three months. I tell people to use the 3-M Filtrate pleated air filters with a merv rating of 8 (see pic above). They remove 99.9% of all the dust particles in the supply air. Because they are so efficient at removing dust they clog quicker than a fiberglass filter, so you must remember to change them more frequently. If you have pets like dogs or cats, then you will need to change them more often as well.