Does HVAC cleaning actually save energy and money?

When faced with budget constraints, air handling maintenance seems to be the last thing on facility engineers’ to do lists. Not only are HVAC systems “out of sight out of mind”, but many are unsure if HVAC cleaning and maintenance actually saves a substantial amount of energy and money. According to the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) and the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) the answer is an outstanding YES, it does.

Coil Cleaning Study

ASHRAE conducted a study that sought out to find the proven benefits. This study looked at air handling units (AHUs) before and after coil cleaning to see what impacts coil cleaning had on energy savings. It was performed on a 34- floor building in New York City and demonstrated that coil cleaning can really save energy dollars and improve comfort.

The findings for AHU restoration were as follows:

- Improvements led to energy savings up to $40,000 in the first year it was implemented!
- A drop in the pressure drop across the coils of approximately 14% which significantly increased the airflow
- An estimated 100 tons of cooling capacity was added to the building after all 4 air handlers were restored
- An increase in thermal efficiency which helped cure the Indoor Air Quality complaints from building occupants
- An increase of HVAC system performance which enabled it to more closely perform to its original intended operation


According to the study, good maintenance and operation practices can improve energy efficiency and IAQ performance of HVAC systems in a building up to 10-15%. You can read the full report here.

Complete HVAC System Cleaning Results

NADCA also took on a research project that set out to correlate the substantial energy savings possible through complete cleaning of fouled heating and cooling systems. According to the study HVAC systems in larger buildings can account for up to 50% of the total energy use. The project confirmed that cleaning a system that is even just a little dirty can give you an average 11% savings off of the energy used for heating and air conditioning. Because this data was taken from a lightly fouled system, they estimate that heavily fouled systems can produce even greater savings. Read the full report here.


On top of energy savings, cleaning heating and cooling systems can improve indoor air quality, reduce maintenance costs, and extend the life expectancy of the system. Think HVAC maintenance is a waste of time and money? These studies shed light on the bigger picture: maintenance has the ability to save you some big bucks.

Need help maintaining your HVAC system? Learn more about how PREVENT can help.

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