How Often Should You Clean Your Air Ducts?
When was the last time you cleaned your air ducts? Probably longer than it should have been. HVAC systems collect more pollutants and dust than you would think. Even though you cannot see most health hazards, they are still there, hiding in various parts of the duct system.
Air ducts are an excellent place for pollen, dirt, dust, and other contaminants to hide in. As air is run through them both into the house and back into the system, some contaminants run through various filters. Nevertheless, they can even get caught in the grill of the register, stick to the walls of the ductwork, or just find a spot where the air isn't flowing and stay there.
In this article, we will discuss the signs of a dirty air duct and how often you should clean it.
How Often Should You Clean Your Air Ducts?
The truth is you need to clean your air ducts when you feel your HVAC system isn't operating at the right efficiency, there are unusual odors, or you feel there's a foreign object obstructing the airflow in your house.
In our personal experience, this takes around 2 to 4 years between cleanings for air ducts in houses and apartments. For commercial properties, it is strongly recommended to check the HVAC system and ductwork annually and clean them when required. Generally, in malls, educational premises, office buildings, and other commercial properties, it's advisable to clean the air ducts every three to four years – the same as in residential properties.
However, as per the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA), there are several reasons for cleaning your air ducts that might increase the need to clean more often.
The most important reason to clean your air ducts is if you're going to start living in a new house. If you haven't lived on a property, you don't know what's inside the air ducts and how well the previous owners cleaned them.
Other Reasons to Clean Your Air Ducts
Here are some other reasons to clean your air ducts as provided by the NADCA –
Pets that Spread Dander and Hair – If you have a pet in the house shedding a trail of dander and hair, you need to clean your air ducts. The dander and hair accumulate in the air ducts, making them function less efficiently.
Asthmatic or Allergic Individuals in the House – If you or your children are suffering from asthma or allergies, you should clean the air ducts and eliminate the risk factors that may increase the reactions and lead to more diseases.
Water Damage, Fire Damage, or Other Damage to Your House – If your house has recently undergone severe damage that required remediation or restoration, it's advisable to clean the air ducts as well. Even if the air ducts were not affected by the catastrophe, the airborne particles of the damaged areas and the restoration process would surely be inside.
Renovation or restoration – If you have just renovated or rebuilt a part of your house, air duct cleaning is a good idea to get all the dust and debris out of your house.
Indoor Smoking – Indoor smoking is a bad idea, so it's better to avoid it altogether. However, if you do smoke indoors, make sure the room is well-ventilated.
Signs You Need to Clean Your Air Ducts
Dirty air ducts can compromise your health and well-being. Continue reading to learn about the signs that your air duct requires cleaning.
Mildew or mold growth is a sure sign that you need to clean your air ducts. It is common for condensation to build up inside your HVAC system. This can facilitate mold growth near the air duct grill.
Moreover, it can also cause mold to grow in various parts of your home. If you have a mold-infested air duct, your HVAC system will blow those spores all over your home. If you're experiencing mold growth problems in your house, you need to get in touch with a professional to help clean your air ducts.
If your allergies are worsening, the problem could be your dirty air ducts. In this case, your HVAC system will be blowing cold or hot air through the house and carrying unclean particles with it.
You could be inhaling mold, dust, or other particles that are aggravating your allergies. If you feel you're experiencing an allergic reaction to something, make sure to inspect the air ducts – there's a high chance that they might be the culprit.
Clogged Air Filter
If you need to continuously change the filters in your cooling and heating system, it could point toward a bigger issue. Your filters surely need to be changed regularly. However, new filters shouldn't get clogged just after a couple of days. If they do get clogged, it's a sign that you need to check the air ducts.
Increased Electricity Bills
Your cooling and heating costs need to be fairly predictable from year to year. If you get a bill that's noticeably high, particularly compared to the same time a year ago, dirty ductwork might be the cause.
In some cases, your ductwork can get so dirty that air is not able to flow efficiently and freely through your house's HVAC system. When this happens, both your air conditioner and furnace have to work harder to maintain a comfortable temperature. This additional energy expenditure means increased energy bills.
You might also notice that your bedroom, bathroom, or other rooms in your house are not getting the same level of airflow as other rooms. In a lot of cases, fully-open vents should provide fairly consistent airflow in all the rooms. Inconsistency could be because of dirty air ducts.
Last Few Words
Cleaning your air ducts can be a DIY project, given that you have the proper instructions from a reliable online source or a DIY guide. However, for a deeper and more thorough cleaning, you should hire a certified cleaning technician.
At AdvantaClean of Fort Lauderdale, we use industry-standard equipment that can handle the volume and size of all types of houses, ensuring healthier and cleaner air in your house.