Can Air Duct Cleaning Cause Damage? The Risks of HVAC Cleaning

Air duct cleaning removes foul smells in air vents and boosts indoor air quality in your home and office. Cleaning air ducts often is vital for a healthy home. But can air duct cleaning cause damage?

Yes and no.

When air duct cleaning is performed by a competent, trained professional using appropriate equipment, it should not cause damage to your HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system.

However, there are potential risks if the cleaning is done improperly or by inexperienced individuals.

Improper air duct cleaning causes damage if:

  • You use the wrong cleaning method, equipment, and cleaning products
  • Mishandled: Some ducts are fragile and could break or twist if handled by an unskilled person leading to leaks or disconnection of sections

Air duct cleaning shouldn't cause damage if you hire experts who are specifically trained on HVAC systems, furnaces, and vents. And if they do damage anything, they should be insured and have service guarantees to fix any damage they might cause.

Zerorez®, the Experts in the Science of Clean™, can clean your air ducts, HVAC, and dryer vents professionally! We are also insured and guarantee our service.

This write-up discusses the risks of air duct cleaning and how you can evade them.

before and after cleaning air ducts with Zerorez®

Can Air Duct Cleaning Cause Damage?

Yes. Unskilled attempts at air duct cleaning, like doing it yourself (DIY), can lead to issues.

Air duct cleaning could cause damage based on various factors:

  • Skill level
  • Choice of cleaning equipment and detergent
  • Material of the air ducts

Skill Level

Air duct cleaning involves removing dust, dirt, and other contaminants from the ductwork. There is different equipment used to extract the particles from your ductwork, including brushes and air whips.

The most advanced air duct cleaning methods involve cutting into your trunk line and extracting everything via negative air to a powerful truck mount air duct cleaning system. This needs advanced skills and knowledge to make sure it's done correctly and trunk lines sealed back properly.

Also, an expert knows how to capture and dispose of these contaminants correctly. This prevents the stale air and pollen from escaping into your home, making the air ducts smell better.

An unqualified air cleaner may redirect the contaminants into your home or office, making it unbearable to stay there due to air contamination.

before and after cleaning air ducts with Zerorez®

What Damage Can Air Duct Cleaning Cause?

Untrained air duct cleaners or DIY methods could severely damage your air ducts, costing you a leg and an arm to repair or replace.

  • Damage to ductwork: Aggressive cleaning methods or tools can potentially damage the ductwork, leading to leaks or even complete disconnection of sections.
  • Contamination spread: If proper containment measures are not taken during the cleaning process, contaminants such as dust, mold, or debris loosened from the ducts can spread throughout the home, potentially worsening indoor air quality.
  • Damage to HVAC components: Improper handling or aggressive cleaning techniques could damage sensitive HVAC components like coils, fans, or insulation.
  • Moisture accumulation: If moisture is introduced into the ductwork during cleaning and not properly removed, it can lead to mold growth, which poses health risks and can further deteriorate the ductwork.

Whoever is cleaning must identify the material used on the air ducts to determine the best and safest cleaning procedure, solution, and equipment.

The cleaner needs to handle each air duct material differently; some are fragile. A single mistake could damage them.

Material of the Air Ducts

Firstly, an expert determines the air duct material to know the best cleaning method.

Ducts are made of varying materials:

  • Fiberboard
  • Sheet metal
  • Flexible (flex)
  • Fiberglass

Some materials, for example, the flex, are highly fragile. When mishandled, they may break or twist, causing damage to the air ducts.

Choice of Cleaning Equipment and Detergent

You need the necessary equipment to prevent the spread of contaminants to other rooms. For instance, the HVAC system and the adjacent room should be under negative pressure; otherwise, dust and other contaminants will spread to the entire house or office.

before and after cleaning air ducts with Zerorez®

How to Avoid Damaging the Air Ducts

Avoid cleaning the air ducts if you don't have the necessary skills!!


  • Hire a company that specializes in cleaning air ducts
  • Check the company's customer reviews for any complaints or misconduct, among other irregularities.
  • Ensure the cleaning company is licensed and insured.

Risks of Air Duct Cleaning

Air duct cleaning is worth it, but you only see its value if professionals do it.

DIY air duct cleaning can yield great results, but only if you're actually skilled in cleaning the air ducts and have the right tools. Be careful, though, as it involves various risks, including;

Falling Sick

Contaminants such as pet dander, viruses, smog, mildew, volatile organic compounds (VOC), and mold may hide in your air ducts. These contaminants cause allergy symptoms.

Blowing these contaminants in the wrong direction could probably contaminate the entire home. This could make you sick, especially if you suffer from allergies.

If you don't know how to redirect the contaminants correctly, you could direct all the stale air to yourself or direct it back to your home, exposing yourself and the family to ailments.

Why Should You Hire An Air Duct Specialist?

DIY air duct cleaning may seem like it's saving you a few dollars, but there is one major con involved that you might want to know before you engage in it.

It's impossible to do a visual inspection.

When air ducts have a problem, you need the proper tools to inspect them, as it's often impossible to do so visually without them.

A duct technician uses mirrors and cameras to inspect the issue and advises on the best course of action. Every professional air duct cleaner first inspects your entire system before cleaning.

Technicians also have the necessary tools to repair the ducts. It's worth hiring, even though you must go deep into your pockets to receive the service.

a male Zerorez technician cleaning a ceiling HVAC air duct register in a residential home

Hire Zerorez Air Duct Cleaning Services

It may be cheaper to DIY, but the risks involved are not worth it. You don't want to wake up to a failing HVAC system.

Engaging a professional, licensed, certified air duct cleaning company such as Zerorez gives you nothing but the best. Check our reviews; our customers are highly impressed. You can also get the best air duct (and entire home) cleaning services from us. Schedule a service online today!

Book a Cleaning with Zerorez Today!