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Should I Get My Ducts Cleaned After Wildfire Exposure?


The Canadian wildfires blanketed our state in thick layers of smoke not once, but twice this summer. Many states had air quality warnings and residents were urged to stay inside. With more and more extended periods of poor air quality, you may be wondering how wildfire smoke affects your home’s ventilation system, and for good reason.

That’s because the “V” in HVAC stands for ventilation. Yes, it’s important enough to be in the name! Your ductwork is responsible for delivering the conditioned air to the rooms of your home. And unfortunately, it’s not impervious to outdoor contaminants like wildfire smoke. 

When your ductwork is in poor condition, it can affect your comfort by decreasing your HVAC system’s performance and lowering your indoor air quality (IAQ). Let’s go over whether your home would benefit from duct cleaning due to recent wildfires. 

Wildfires and the Air Quality Index (AQI)

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) developed the Air Quality Index (AQI) to let people know how clean or polluted the outside air is on a daily basis. New York state has experienced an increasing number of days where the AQI is at unhealthy levels due to high concentrations of smoke-induced fine particulate matter.

People are advised to stay inside when the AQI is poor. However, smoke and particulate matter can still penetrate your home even when all the doors and windows of your home are closed. Depending on where you live, you’ve possibly had a light layer of ash accumulate in your home or have even worn an N95 mask inside to avoid breathing in particulates. 

What’s in Wildfire Smoke?

Wildfire smoke contains a mixture of particulates, carcinogens, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and volatile chemicals. Its specific makeup will change based on what materials are feeding the flames. The microscopic particles from wildfire smoke are smaller than 2.5 micrometers, small enough to penetrate the lungs and bloodstream. This is why residents are urged to stay inside and refrain from outdoor activity when the AQI is bad due to wildfire smoke.

Should I Have My Ducts Cleaned After a Wildfire?

According to the EPA, ductwork should be cleaned if your ducts are clogged with excessive amounts of dust and debris and if particles are actually released into your home from the supply registers. If your ductwork is already problematic and then is affected by ash and smoke from a wildfire, duct cleaning is recommended.

So how do you know if your ductwork is in good condition? If you’ve lived in your home for more than 4 years and have never had your ducts cleaned, your home is overdue for this service. Air ducts should be cleaned every 3-4 years under normal conditions. 

We’re Certified by the National Air Duct Cleaners Association

We’re one of the only contractors in the area who are certified by NADCA (National Air Duct Cleaners Association). That means we’re highly trained and certified to evaluate your ductwork and provide you with an expert opinion on whether ductwork cleaning would be beneficial to your home. 

Contact Quality Heating & Cooling today for AC repairs in Middletown, NY. It’s not a Quality job, unless it has our Quality seal. 

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