5 Reasons to Clean Your Air Ducts

People maintain their homes for a variety of reasons including keeping it looking good, maintaining a safe and healthy environment for their family, preventing expensive repairs and replacements and maintaining the value of their home. Obviously, the health and safety of your family is the most important of these reasons. The benefits of air duct cleaning and the severity of the health problems it can prevent make it one of the more important steps to include in a home maintenance routine.

Regular inspection and servicing of air conditioning and heating systems is one of the most common home maintenance routines because if they break your home will be uncomfortable and replacement is expensive. Servicing your heating and cooling system is vital to keeping them performing optimally and should entail cleaning the cooling coils, drip pans, fans and heat exchangers. Cleaning these components can release dust, debris, mold or allergens into your duct work which will then be released into your home. For this reason it is important to clean your air ducts at the same time your HVAC system is cleaned.

When to Clean Air Ducts

Many people only clean their air ducts after an “event” such as a fire or flood in the home, water entering the duct work from a leaky roof or pipe, an infestation of insects or rodents in the duct work or after a home remodeling project. In these instances cleaning their air ducts is the smart thing to do.

If the “event” is the discovery of mold in the system, they have almost surely waited too long because there is a good chance persons in the home have been exposed to the mold. This is why regular inspection by a trained air duct cleaner is advised. A good way to remember is to have them inspected whenever you have your heating or cooling system serviced.

Top 5 Benefits of Air Duct Cleaning

1. Money savings
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that removing as little as .4 inches of dust from cooling system coils will reduce energy consumption up to 21 percent. This can save you considerable money on your utility bill.

2. System life
It is estimated that nearly nine out of ten central heating and air conditioning systems fail or breakdown because they were not maintained properly. Replacement parts for an HVAC system can be very expensive and total replacement can cost thousands.

3. Indoor air quality
Many consider air duct cleaning vital to maintaining healthy indoor air. Dust, allergens (pollen, pet dander) and toxins (mold, mildew, rodent droppings) are commonly found in air ducts. If air ducts are not cleaned regularly these particles can be released into your home. Even if family members do not suffer from allergies the particles can cause severe respiratory problems, among other things.

4. Health
If family members suffer from allergies or asthma, air duct cleaning may be necessary to provide a safe haven. Air duct cleaning can drastically reduce the amount of allergens (dust, dirt, pollen, pet dander, mold spores, insect and rodent droppings) in the air of a home.

5. Smell
Dust, mold and bacteria in an air duct system will create a musty smell in a home that no amount of air fresheners or candles can eliminate. Regular air duct cleaning can eliminate this problem almost entirely.

How to Clean Air Ducts

Although it is possible for home owners to clean air ducts themselves an air duct cleaning service provider has both the equipment to do it more thoroughly and the training and knowledge to not damage fragile heating and cooling system components. Air duct cleaning contractors use special vacuums to put the entire duct work system under negative pressure while they use motorized brushes to loosen debris from air ducts which is removed by the vacuums without making a mess of the house.

Cleaning Your Own Air Ducts

Homeowners should not attempt to clean their air ducts if mold is present. If not handled properly, the mold could spread even more and further contaminate the home. If  home owners have older ducts and are unsure what they are made of they should not attempt to clean them. Some older ducts are made of fiberglass and other materials which can be harmful to the person cleaning them and if damaged can have a harmful impact on air quality in the home going forward. To be safe, home owners should only attempt to clean air ducts made of bare sheet metal.