Spring is in the air! But what else is in the air in your home? If the ducts in your house have not been cleaned recently, vents could be pushing dust, bacteria, mold, dander, and allergens around as soon as the air conditioning is turned on. That’s why Spring is the best time to think about HVAC duct cleaning.
Indoor air quality is more important these days than ever before. Find out why air duct cleaning is worth it and how it can help protect your family’s health.
The Importance of Regular Air Duct Cleaning
Just like every other hidden corner of your home, air ducts require regular attention. With use of heating and air conditioning through a number of seasons gives dirt, dust, mold and other contaminants time to build up in your duct system.
- Spring – Trees, grasses, and weeds release pollen during this season.
- Summer – Mold growth increases and allergen levels peak during the warm and humid summer months.
- Fall – Fungus spores reach the highest levels in early fall both indoors and out.
- Winter – Dust mites and animal dander accumulate in these months when there is less ventilation.
Air duct cleaning is the only way to remove these seasonal airborne pollutants and general indoor air contaminants from the system. Buildup, over time, leads to clogs and reduced airflow from the ducts, outlets, and vents. When the HVAC system has to work harder to overcome clogs and constrictions in the duct ways, it consumes more energy. Not only does this mean that heating and cooling functions are less efficient, but it also means that energy bills will increase.
When dirt, dust, and dander are allowed to collect, this also creates a trap for mold spores. Then, any moisture that enters the system will facilitate mold growth. And this can lead to health problems for you and your family.
The benefits of regular air duct cleaning include:
- Improving indoor air quality,
- Reducing allergens, bacteria, and other particles in the air and throughout the home,
- Helping your family to breath easily and stay healthy,
- Boosting heating and air conditioning efficiency and decreasing energy usage.
Can Dirty Air Ducts Make You Sick?
Yes. Mold that develops in air ducts over time or which is pushed into the house through dirty air ducts can make you and your family sick. Inhaling mold spores can cause inflammation the lungs and airways and worsen respiratory illnesses, asthma and allergies. Exposure to mold, for example is linked to bronchitis and pneumonia.
More specifically, black mold has been “linked to health problems ranging from respiratory infections to eye infections, from joint pain to fatigue, from depression to bleeding in the lungs,” according to Homeowner’s Guide to Mold Removal.
How Often Should Air Ducts Be Cleaned?
The National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) recommends that homeowners have their air ducts professionally cleaned about every 3 – 5 years. This timeframe varies based on how often you use the heating and air conditioning, the level of airborne contaminants in your area, and if anyone living in the home is affected by respiratory problems, asthma, or allergies.
Related article: Spring Cleaning Checklist for Your HVAC Unit.
What Does an Air Duct Cleaning Involve?
When you schedule an air duct cleaning with AQM, our technicians will arrive on time and discuss the process with you. First, they inspect the system and seal all of the vents and registers in each room. This prevents dust, mold, and contaminants from becoming airborne and dirtying other parts of your house during the cleaning process. If you have any hidden vents, let the crew know so that they can move furniture or get a ladder in order to seal these as well.
Next, the crew will fit a metal cap to cover the furnace equipment and protect it while the ducts are being cleared. This step is important to ensure that there is no damage to the coil, the blower wheel, and the electrical components.
They utilize a long, flexible hose and the compressor to push dirt and debris from the outermost vents and registers in the house. Then, they work their way down each floor of the structure and towards the main furnace unit. At the same time, the vacuum tool is used to suck the debris that is dislodged. It has multiple filters that capture larger particles and micro-particles. Using this push-and-pull technique, all the debris is removed from the HVAC system entirely.
HVAC techs use the air compressor and vacuum unit to clean the different parts of the forced air system. Cleaning services cover:
- Supply and return air ducts and registers,
- Vents and diffusers,
- HVAC blower motor and housing,
- Furnace heat exchanger,
- Evaporator coil, drain, and drain pan,
- Replace HVAC filter.
You would be surprised to see the filters on the duct cleaning unit before and after the process. When both the supply and return ducts have been cleared out, the filters are a completely different color. New filters are usually a light green or blue color, and they are dark grey – full of dust, dirt, dander, hair, drywall residue, etc. – when we finish.
How Can I Know it’s Time to Get the Air Ducts Cleaned?
There are a few key signs of a dirty HVAC air ducts:
- If you find the surfaces in the house accumulating more dust than usual or getting dusty more frequently.
- If you find traces of mold in the ducts or near the vents.
- If there is a musty smell in the house but mold has not been found in other at-risk areas.
- You hear or suspect an infestation of rodents or insects in the home.
- Occupants are experiencing allergy symptoms – sore throat, coughing, sneezing, headaches, itchy eyes, runny nose – indoors.
- Occupants are experiencing symptoms of mold exposure indoors.
Related article: Find out if it’s Time to Replace Your HVAC System.
Don’t Know What’s Lurking in Your Ducts? | Call AQM
Call AQM today to schedule a professional duct inspection and cleaning services. Learn more about our indoor air quality services.