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Dirty Air Ducts | NADCA Energy Research Project


Dirty ducts block air flow. Accumulations of dust and debris within HVAC ductwork present airborne particulates in buildings and homes. Buildup of contaminants reduces air flow which increases energy consumption and related costs.

Cleaning HVAC systems results in 11% energy savings

Below are excerpts from an article published by the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) on findings from its 2008 Energy Research Project. The excerpts describe the role of air flow in air ducts and what constitutes a complete HVAC cleaning, as well as a short summary of the project’s research findings.

The Importance of Air Flow

When it comes to having a productive, energy-efficient heating and cooling system, air flow is everything. Increased air flow equates to better performance. But when systems become fouled, air flow is reduced. Dirty filters, clogged coils, fouled blowers and other components – all of these things impede air flow and lead to increased energy costs. The solution is to have the heating and air conditioning system professionally cleaned.

You may be familiar with the term air duct cleaning, but this is actually a bit of a misnomer. Professional cleaning for a heating and
air conditioning system entails cleaning not only the ductwork, but also the vents, registers, blower, coils, and other components – the surfaces that are exposed to the air flow within the system. Complete cleaning of the heating and air conditioning system is a highly specialized cleaning service that differs from the routine maintenance provided by the technician sent out to clean and adjust the furnace. Complete cleaning of the heating and air conditioning system is an important aspect of keeping the system operating at peak efficiency.


It takes a lot of energy to heat and cool a home or building and in fact, the systems used for this purpose account for the majority of energy use. These systems – even in new buildings – tend to be dirty, and become more heavily fouled through everyday use. Fouled heating and cooling systems can also be problematic for occupants, contributing to poor indoor air quality, system failure and increased energy use.

Researchers have proven that cleaning even lightly-fouled heating and cooling systems can result in energy savings of 11 percent. In addition to these savings, consumers who have their heating and cooling system cleaned can benefit from improved indoor air quality, reduced maintenance costs and extended life expectancy for the heating and cooling system. While not yet confirmed, cleaning heavily-fouled systems is expected to produce even greater energy savings.

So, whether your HVAC system is lightly or heavily soiled, you can save on energy with a complete system cleaning. Schedule your annual cleaning, if you haven’t already.

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