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When Do HVAC Ducts Need To Be Cleaned?

I need to get my ducks cleaned – what?!

NoOoOo, not your ducks, your ducts!

Your air ducts are conduits that run throughout the attic space in your home. They deliver and remove air for both the AC and heating system. Each room in your home is connected to the ducts with a supply register and some rooms will also have a return register. 

Why do air ducts need to be cleaned?

A buildup of mold, fungi, bacteria, and dust in your air ducts directly affects the indoor air quality of your home.

Poor air quality can result in a decline in the overall health, comfort, and well-being of the building occupant. People who are more sensitive to their environments that have allergies or certain diseases may be impacted further by poor air quality in the home.

Getting your air ducts cleaned when needed will help improve indoor air quality and your overall health and wellness. Clean air ducts can also result in more energy savings on your monthly bills depending on how clogged they were before cleaning. 

PHOTO: A CERTIFIED TECHNICIAN WITH COUNTRY AIR CLEANING OUT AN AIR DUCT.

How often do air ducts need to be cleaned?

A general rule of thumb is every 3 to 5 years, but this depends on several factors, like:

  • Number of smokers in the household.
  • Number of pets that live in the home shedding hair and dander.
  • A recent renovation or remodeling projects.
  • Location of your home.
  • Prior to occupancy of a new home.
  • Residents that have underlying health conditions that may benefit from a reduction in indoor air pollutants.
  • How often the air filter is changed.
  • How often the HVAC system is maintained.
  • Water or other damage that may have affected your Air Conditioning system.

Depending on how these factors may affect you and your home will determine how often your ducts need to be cleaned. Some homes can go longer than 5 years before needing a good duct cleaning. 

Look for these clues to know when it might be time to get your air ducts cleaned:

  1. Your air returns are coated in dust and debris.
  2. You notice a change in the air flow coming out of your supply registers, the air may be coming out at a slower rate, or it may feel clammy.
  3. You can visibly see dust blowing out of your registers when the air is flowing out.
  4. You notice a fowl smell when your air is blowing. Sometimes insects and rodents make their way into the duct work but don’t make their way out.
  5. Black mildew is present on the registers. This can be a sign of a more serious problem like mold and/or mildew growth throughout the system. If so, it is recommended to do an antimicrobial fogging service first and then follow it up with a duct cleaning to prevent regrowth of mildew and microbes.
  6. You can visibly see an accumulation of dust and debris when you check inside your ducts with a flashlight.
  7. You can hear clatter other than your blower motor when you listen to the air flowing through your home. 
PHOTO: MICROBE GROWTH ON THE INSIDE OF AN AIR DUCT.

What can I do to prolong the time between duct cleanings?

Make sure you are taking care of your home and HVAC system properly. This includes:

  • Vacuuming and dusting your home regularly.
  • Changing your air filters routinely.
  • Finding and sealing leaks in your air ducts that might attract dust to come in from your attic area.
  • Upgrading to new duct work if your home is older or your duct work is in poor condition.
  • Signing up for an affordable HVAC maintenance plan where your system will get professionally tuned and inspected twice per year.

How should a residential HVAC system be cleaned?

An air duct system should be cleaned by a reputable professional. The air duct system will be placed under negative pressure using a specialized duct cleaning system that functions like a vacuum cleaner.

While the vacuum draws air through the duct work, a rotating brush head is inserted into the ducts through the registers of each room which dislodges any debris and gets sucked into the vacuum, leaving the system like new again. 
PHOTO: COUNTRY AIR AT A CUSTOMER’S HOME DOING AN AIR DUCT CLEANING. NOTICE THE BUILDUP OF MILDEW ON THE REGISTERS THAT WERE REMOVED PRIOR TO CLEANING

How much does duct cleaning cost?

Costs for duct cleaning vary depending on how many HVAC units your home has, whether you own a one or two story and how large your home is.

Country Air specializes in whole home air duct cleaning and provides free quotes. Give us a call today at 281-356-8564 and we’ll be happy to answer any more questions you have about duct cleaning and provide you with a free quote at no obligation to you.  

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