Many homeowners come to rely on their furnace and air conditioner in order to stay comfortable. There’s one important component, however, that you shouldn’t forget and that’s the air ducts. Your home’s HVAC system needs proper ventilation to function effectively, but when it comes to the growing list of home maintenance chores, it’s easy to overlook maintaining the air ducts. Just like any appliance however, your air ducts require routine cleaning.

The Problem with Dirty Air Ducts

Dirty air ducts pose more problems than just an inefficient HVAC system, as too much accumulated dust and debris can cause health problems and invite unwanted pests into your home. Your air ducts should be cleaned every 3-5 years, and if you suspect it’s time for a cleaning, you’ll to hire an air duct cleaning contractor to do so. Deciding when it’s time to clean your air ducts will also depend on how often you use your HVAC system, where you live, your allergies, and if you have pets. An air duct cleaning should be done right away if you start experiencing the following problems.

  • Visible mold. Mold is never a good thing, but if you notice patches of mold growing on your vents, it’s most likely coming from somewhere inside the air ducts. Mold grows when there’s excessive moisture, and if there’s mold growing inside the air ducts, they’ll need to be cleaned immediately. Breathing in mold is toxic for your health, and moldy air ducts means its circulating a health hazard throughout your home. If you smell something musty, or start experiencing symptoms such as fever, shortness of breath, and other respiratory problems, call a HVAC technician immediately.
  • Pests. If you find what appear to be insect shells or husks, tiny scratches, and droppings near the vents, you could have a pest infestation inside your air ducts. Like mold, pests are a major health hazard, damaging your HVAC system and leaving foul odors in your home.
  • Excessive dirt and debris. A much more obvious sign of dirty air ducts is the accumulation of dirt and debris on the vents themselves. Thick, fuzzy coatings of dust are definitely the sign of a dirty air duct. If the air filter in your HVAC system turns out to be dirty, that may be the culprit for your ducts.
  • Carbon monoxide. Appliances that burn fuel such as your oven, furnace, and water heater put you at risk of a carbon monoxide leak. A properly ventilated house helps to reduce the risk. If however, you experience a carbon monoxide leak, part of the problem may have to do with a dirty duct.
  • Higher utility bills. Your furnace and air conditioner need effective ventilation in order to function efficiently. A dirty or clogged duct not only has a harder time circulating heat or conditioned air, it also overworks your HVAC system, and the result is usually higher utility bills.
  • Respiratory problems. Poor indoor air quality is one of the biggest consequences of an air duct in need of cleaning. If you and your household start experiencing allergy, sinus, asthma, and other respiratory problems, there’s probably too much dust and debris circulating in your ducts.  If you’re sneezing or wheezing from your air ducts, they should be professionally cleaned immediately.
  • Dust coming out of the vents. Sometimes you might encounter the occasional dust cloud, but if see dust clouds coming out of your HVAC system every time you use it, your air ducts may need a cleaning. Dust coming out of your ac unit or furnace can also be a sign of a dirty air filter.

Don’t let your ducts suffer. If your home needs duct work, call Air Tech today!