Duct Cleaning Guide

You’ll find ductwork within business settings across the UK, from offices and hospitals to sports & leisure facilities. You may even find ductwork in private or residential properties, although these are generally less common. Ductwork systems supply fresh, clean air from outside a building while circulating and removing the air from inside. In doing so, air duct ventilation ensures healthy and safe indoor environments by providing continually refreshed, clean air.

Duct cleaning is essential for all buildings fitted with ductwork. Over time, dust, dirt and other contaminants can build up within ductwork and seriously compromise the supplied air quality. Without proper maintenance, particles become trapped within the system, polluting the air supply and potentially damaging the ductwork itself. These issues will negatively affect the health of people breathing the air being supplied.

What is Duct Cleaning?

Duct cleaning services are carried out to tackle the build-up of contaminants in the ductwork. In order to keep ventilation systems clean and safe, duct cleaning is required to remove dust, dirt, bacteria, mould and other pollutants that naturally accumulate. The nature of duct cleaning and the legal implications of not having ductwork regularly maintained require a fully qualified and reputable team to carry out the work. Specialised equipment and techniques are needed to clean ductwork and ventilation systems in order to completely remove unsafe contaminants and debris. Testing is required to ensure air quality meets lawful standards, along with a certificate to satisfy insurers and legal obligations.

Hospital Ductwork cleaner

Most Common Duct Cleaning Methods:

Here’s a closer look at some of the most effective duct cleaning methods:

1. Source Removal Air Duct Cleaning

Utilises mechanical agitation to loosen contaminants within ducts, followed by their extraction. This method comprehensively removes all debris, ensuring compliance with TR19 standards.

2. Point of Contact Air Duct Cleaning

Employs a HEPA vacuum to effectively remove pollutants at a lower cost. This quick method is gaining popularity due to its efficiency and simplicity.

3. Truck Mounted Air Duct Cleaning

Involves creating negative pressure through a truck-mounted vacuum to remove debris. This method is less preferred due to potential contamination risks.

4. Power Vacuum or Air Sweep

Uses a powerful vacuum to efficiently clear out built-up grime, making it ideal for severe accumulations.

5. Steam Air Duct Cleaning

Applies pressurised steam to loosen debris, followed by vacuuming. Caution is advised as moisture can damage HVAC components.

6. High Static Pressure Air Duct Cleaning

Cleans ducts using high-pressure air, suitable for removing stubborn debris in commercial settings but may stress the system.

7. Cryo-Blasting

Involves using dry ice pellets to clean ducts effectively and quickly, although it is a more costly option.

8. Combination Duct Cleaning Methods

Some services combine methods to ensure thorough cleaning, such as using truck-mounted cleaning followed by high static pressure techniques.

Regular Ductwork Maintenance

Guidance has been provided by the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) relating to duct cleaning and maintenance. Their document, TR19, stipulates measures to classify ductwork along with timeframes for cleaning and maintenance. Based on the type of building and usage, properties will be classed as high, medium, and low, categorising the level and frequency of duct cleaning recommended. In the past, ductwork maintenance has been a low priority for building owners and landlords. With most ventilation structures purposely hidden, these essential systems were often left forgotten until a serious problem occurred. More recently, health and safety laws, along with insurance requirements, have placed more emphasis on adequate cleaning schedules.

Frequency Guidelines

Maintaining optimal air quality through regular duct cleaning is crucial for various building types. Below, find recommended cleaning intervals according to the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) TR19 standards. These intervals are based on the building’s usage and type, ensuring that all environments adhere to health and safety regulations.

Recommended Cleaning Intervals

Building Type Frequency of Cleaning Notes
Hospitals and Healthcare Facilities Every 6 Months Due to high standards for hygiene and continuous operation, more frequent cleaning is necessary.
Offices Annually Regular cleaning helps maintain a healthy environment for daily staff operations.
Residential Properties Every 2 Years Less frequent cleaning required due to lower air volume and pollutants.
Schools and Educational Institutions Annually or Every 6 Months Frequency depends on the age of the building and the volume of occupants.
Restaurants and Food Service Areas Every 6 Months Grease and particulate buildup demand more frequent cleaning.
Manufacturing Facilities Annually or Every 2 Years Industrial processes might necessitate more rigorous cleaning schedules based on debris and dust production.
Sport & Leisure Facilities Every Year Regular cleaning is essential due to high traffic and humidity levels that can increase mould growth.

Nevertheless, if there are visible signs that ductwork needs maintenance, cleaning or repair, then this should be tackled right away. Here are a few examples below:


If particles such as dust become trapped in a ventilation system, bacteria will naturally grow. Mould is a visible indicator that there is a build-up of contaminants in a ductwork system and should be cleaned as soon as possible to avoid serious health problems.

Ductwork cleaning


Ductwork is often difficult to see with the naked eye. However, odours can indicate problems lurking deeper within a system. If noticeable smells are coming from a ventilation system or air is becoming “stale”, you’ll want to book an inspection.


A compromised ventilation system could cause allergies, problems with breathing or respiratory infection. If people within the building are experiencing symptoms such as these, then it’s important to check the maintenance schedule and inspect the ductwork.

Legal Requirements

As mentioned above, there is strict legislation in place governing the cleaning and maintenance of ductwork which protects the health and safety of occupants. Building owners and landlords have a legal duty to ensure a clean and safe supply of air inside a property. As such, duct cleaning is essential to meet these requirements, and anyone found to be negligent in these responsibilities could be prosecuted.

Duct Cleaning Services

At Deduct, we provide a range of ductwork cleaning services to keep properties compliant with TR19 and other legal obligations. Our experienced team have seen it all and has expertise in tackling projects of all sizes.

Deduct van

We’re happy to answer any questions or provide a free, no-obligation quote. Give us a call, and we’ll carry out a site inspection with 48 hours of your enquiry. You can reach us on 0333 772 0089 or through our contact form.