The Trouble with Dirty Air Ducts in Restaurants

If you have dusty, dirty ducts in your home, you are likely going to start to notice a musty smell and maybe an increase in allergies while you are at home. But if the ducts in your restaurant have not been cleaned in some time, you are likely going to have even more severe problems. Dirty ducts mean poor air quality, and this is definitely a bad thing, especially in a restaurant. There are a number of very negative side effects when it comes to having poor air quality. Here are only a few of them:

Sinus Issues

While the people who come and go from your restaurant might not immediately notice any increase in sinus issues, your employees likely will. Because they spend the majority of their day inside, breathing in the air from the dirty ducts, they will breathe in the dust and dirt that is being blown into your restaurant every time the air conditioning or heating kicks on.

These particles will eventually find their way into their sinuses, which can cause them to become inflamed and even infected. More of your workers will be more sick, more often, and will have to take more time away from work.

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Your patrons will probably not notice any serious sinus issues when they enter your restaurant, but they will likely start to notice that their allergies are exacerbated whenever they come to your establishment. Mold, dust, and pollen are all common inhabitants of dirty duct systems, and every time the air comes on, these particles are blown into the air and then breathed in by the people in your restaurant.

Not only is this bad for your patrons, who will likely start to connect their allergies to being inside your restaurant, it is bad for the people who work in your restaurant too, especially for those who are preparing the food. You do not want your chefs and cooks to be having sneezing fits, stuffed noses, or red, itchy eyes while they are making your meals.


You want your restaurant to be a clean and friendly place for people to gather. Even if your restaurant appears clean, if it does not smell clean, people will likely leave the moment they step inside the door. Even the busiest kitchen and the most fragrant foods cannot always cover up the distinct stench of dirty ducts.

While you might not think of dust and dirt as giving off a particular smell, it definitely does. We’ve all stepped into dusty or unclean rooms and been immediately able to smell just how unclean the air is. If you have dirty ducts, this could be the smell inside your restaurant every single day.

Health Concerns

Aside from the health concerns listed above, there are other very serious health concerns that restaurants should be aware of. If there is bacteria breeding in your ducts, this bacteria can be blown out onto your food preparation surfaces, making it impossible to keep them clean, no matter what you do. This might not sound like that big of a deal, but if your patrons start to become ill because they have eaten food that is contaminated with this kind of bacteria, you will have a serious problem on your hands.


Aside from dust, dirt, bacteria, and pollen that might collect in your dusts and irritate the people that visit or work in your restaurant, it is possible that certain pests can be living in your dirty duct work. Mold is the most common pest to make its home in ducts, where there is usually some moisture and temperatures that are conducive to growing mold colonies. That said, just about any kind of pest, including bugs and rodents, can make their home in dirty ducts. The waste created by these pests can become a serious health hazard in your restaurant. Regular cleanings is the only way to prevent this from happening.

Increased Costs

One of the biggest issues that goes along with a dirty duct system is how much it costs to use, maintain, and repair your system. The dirtier your ducts are, the more expensive it is going to be to keep your system functioning. If you live in a climate where heating and/or cooling are absolutely necessary to keep your restaurant comfortable, you are going to want to carefully look at how much it is costing you to run your HVAC system and when the last time you had your ducts cleaned was. Clogged ducts and vents can make it much more difficult for your system to push air into your rooms, causing it to use more electricity. This increases the cost of running the system and increases the rate at which your system will need repairs.

Cleaning Costs

Keeping your restaurant clean and fresh will be more difficult if you have dirty ducts. You’ll see more dust and more dirt on your surfaces that will have to be continually cleaned away. This could increase your labor costs, too.


Having clean ducts is not just better for your restaurant’s air quality, it’s better for the health of your staff and patrons, too. An inexpensive cleaning can also help your HVAC system run longer and more efficiently!

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