Guide to Duct Cleaning on Rental Properties

There are many aspects of property management that landlords have to consider in order to make sure their homes are safe and livable for their tenants. One of the most important systems within a home, apartment, or condo is the HVAC system, which handles heating, cooling, and air quality within a home. 

Depending on where you live, a properly functioning HVAC system could be the difference between a property being comfortable or completely unlivable during the most extreme hot and cold months of the year. 

Additionally, since the air that your tenants breathe is constantly cycling through the HVAC system through ducts, it’s crucial to ensure that this system produces safe, healthy air. 

Since it’s so important for the HVAC system in a rental property to produce clean and temperature-controlled air to keep tenants comfortable, you may think that duct cleaning on rental properties is a necessary maintenance task for you to handle as a landlord. 

However, this service may not be as useful as it might seem for the proper functionality of your unit’s HVAC system. Let’s take a look at some of the factors involved in HVAC duct cleaning and whether it’s necessary.

Is Duct Cleaning Necessary for Proper HVAC Maintenance?

Duct cleaning is the process of removing excess dirt, dust, pollen, and grime from your HVAC ducts. It typically requires an HVAC professional to be performed correctly due to the fact that ductwork is delicate and can easily be damaged. 

Many HVAC companies that offer duct cleaning on rental properties insist that the process is beneficial for tenant health. This type of marketing can be especially effective for tenants with asthma, allergies, and other respiratory issues that might be particularly sensitive to airborne pathogens.

However, it’s important to note that the claims of HVAC companies surrounding duct cleaning are largely unsubstantiated by evidence. 

Though duct cleaning for rental properties will result in the removal of dust and grime buildup in your ducts, there is no concrete evidence to support that this removal actually has noticeable effects on the health of those living in the home.

Is It Necessary to Get Your Ducts Cleaned?

Getting your HVAC system’s ducts cleaned is not necessary for health reasons. Even if your ducts have a buildup of dust, the dust typically stays where it is, even if the HVAC system is running. That means it’s unlikely to have any effect on the air you’re breathing from the HVAC system. 

But what if your reasons for getting your ducts cleaned extend beyond the potential health effects? Some landlords consider duct cleaning on rental properties to be an important maintenance task due to the fact that excessive dust in the ducts is believed to lead to excessive dust throughout the home. 

Additionally, many homeowners are also under the impression that removing dust from their ducts will improve the effectiveness and functionality of their heating and cooling system.

According to a study conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency that measured both HVAC function and dust levels within a home over a period of one week, duct cleaning did not make a significant difference in the amount of dust found on furniture items throughout the home or the performance of the HVAC system. 

So what’s the bottom line? Duct cleaning on rental properties cannot be determined to be dangerous or harmful in any way, so you likely won’t hear any major health organizations condemning the practice. 

However, claims that duct cleaning will create noticeable health improvements for members of a household cannot be confirmed as true or reliable.

Are Landlords Responsible for Duct Cleaning on Rental Properties?

Landlords are responsible for making sure that their rental property is up to livable legal standards. Since duct cleaning is not considered necessary for a unit to be livable and comfortable, this service doesn’t fall under a landlord’s financial responsibility. 

Tenants may pay for the service themselves if they choose to, as long as they secure permission from their landlord. However, tenants who choose to pay for duct cleaning on rental properties cannot ask for a rent reduction after the service is completed since duct cleaning is not considered to be a regular maintenance task.

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