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How Often Should I Clean My Air Ducts?

Air ducts are the veins through which your central heating and cooling system keep your home comfortable. All of the conditioned air produce by either your evaporator coil or your heat exchanger will pass through your ducts as it is transported throughout your home, and that makes your ductwork arguably one of the most important components of your entire HVAC system. However, if you are like most people, it’s a part that you probably don’t pay all that much attention to. After all, ducts have no moving parts and do nothing more than sit there and act as a route for air to move through.

Over time, debris can build up in your ducts from a variety of sources. Sometimes this debris comes from dust and other particulates finding their way through your system by sneaking through your air filter. Sometimes it comes from air settling inside your air ducts and leaving behind the particulates it carries. However, the problem may have developed, it’s important to have your air ducts professionally cleaned periodically to improve your indoor air quality, keep your home cleaner, and reduce the strain on your heating and cooling system.

Clean Your Air Ducts Regularly

As a professional heating and cooling contractor, we recommend that the average home have their air ducts inspected and cleaned every two to three years. However, some homes or even businesses may need to have their air ducts cleaned more regularly than this due to a variety of factors. For example, homes in particularly dusty areas or environments with generally poor air quality may find that their air ducts fill up with debris and grime far faster. Regular air filter changes can slow this process, but no air filter is perfect when it comes to completely cleaning the air in your home.

Another factor that will strongly influence your recommended cleaning period is household odors. For example, if you prepare a lot of foods with heavy odors, these odor particles will become engrained in your air ducts by sticking to any dust or debris that has built up in the lines themselves. The same can be said for those who smoke indoors—be it cigarettes, cigars, or even using something like incense. All of these odors can take up a near-permanent residence in your air ducts, and that can mean long-lasting odors that can make your home a deeply unpleasant place for your nose.

What Can Dirty Air Ducts Do?

Dirty air ducts are more than just bad for your home and your air quality—they can also strongly impact your HVAC system as a whole. Dirty air ducts can cause a few major issues with your HVAC system itself, and that can mean pricey repairs and frustrating periods where your HVAC equipment isn’t working properly. First, dirty air ducts can decrease airflow through your duct system. Dirty registers reduce prevent air from flowing through as smoothly as it can, and that can lead to a buildup of pressure inside your air ducts that prevents your blower fan from being able to operate as smoothly as it could. When combined with a dirty air filter, this could drastically shorten the lifespan and reliability of your blower fan and contribute to other problems like frequent air conditioner freezing.

Second, dirty air ducts can also cause the ducts themselves to begin to wear out and fall apart. When your ducts experience a problem, they will usually start to leak, and leaking ducts are the source of tremendous energy loss and additional wear and tear on your HVAC system. When your ducts leak, every heating or cooling cycle will have to run considerably longer to make up for the energy lost between your system and the registers around your home, and that means considerably higher costs throughout the year.

How Air Ducts Are Cleaned

Modern air duct cleaning is generally done using modern tools that combine sweeping vacuuming, and premium air filtration. Generally, a duct cleaning device features a revolving brush that spins to scrub all of the dust and grime out of your air ducts for at least several dozen feet. The dislodged dust is quickly sucked up and contained by a high-power vacuum that traps and contains all of the debris in a safe container. These vacuums are typically outfitted with HEPA-grade filters to prevent as much of the debris from escaping back into the air in your home as possible to ensure your safety.

For areas that may be impacted by mold and mildew, your duct cleaning technician will typically apply some sort of a sanitizing chemical to the inside of your duct lines in order to kill off the mold and get rid of the odors it might carry.

Got a problem with your air ducts? Bay Heating & Air Conditioning can help! Call us at (440) 294-4954 today.