Let’s face it…few people spend any time thinking about their home’s ductwork. But perhaps they should. Here’s the crazy part, some individuals are downright neat freaks. They spend hours sweeping and mopping floors, wiping off countertops in the kitchen, dusting furniture, and so on. Yet, they never think about the air quality they and their family breathe.
The ductwork is what serves as a conduit for air pushed into a home from the air-conditioning system and furnace. If it’s dirty, there could be a compromise in the quality of air that people breathe in every day.
Ductwork is part of the HVAC system. Both heated and cooled air passes through the ducts to help push it out into the various rooms of a home. At the same time, the ducts deliver returned air to the plenum. Simply put, the ductwork is responsible for keeping rooms comfortable based on the thermostat’s setting.
That’s right…if ductwork isn’t clean, you and your family could be at risk. Considering air flows through the ducts and that these are open spaces in ceilings and walls, all kinds of things can accumulate inside. Here are the biggest threats:
- Dust and Lint – Over time, it’s common for both dust and lint to build up within the ductwork.
- Pet Dander – If you have cats or dogs, tiny hairs and dander also get inside of ducts.
- Mold – Considering that air-conditioning units create condensation, it’s common for moisture to build up inside of the ductwork during the summer months. As you might know, mold thrives in this kind of environment. But here’s the other problem…when the air runs, there’s no chance for the ducts to dry out. So, this creates the perfect condition for mold to thrive and grow.
- Animal and Insect Feces – Yeah, that’s gross, but it’s another risk. If you were to ask any professional ductwork company, they’d tell you all about the different animal and insect feces they’ve cleaned from inside of ducts. Roach droppings are one example. Not only is it disgusting to have roaches in a house but they also carry diseases from one place to another. If their fecal matter is inside of the ductwork, that’s what you’re breathing in.
When a home’s ductwork is dirty, it can lead to various health issues. These include chronic coughing, irritation to the throat, watery eyes, and runny nose. Dirty ducts can lead to people developing these symptoms to think they have the common cold.
Other possible health problems are low-grade fever, headaches, and difficult breathing. As you can imagine, for someone with asthma, COPD, or some other kind of upper respiratory problem, this could turn serious very quickly.
Despite all the disgusting things about dirty ductwork, you can have the problem remedied. A trained expert can come to your home and using specialized equipment, can clean and sanitize all the ducts. If mold exists, they can remediate that as well.
Now, to keep your home clean and sanitary, you should have the ductwork cleaned at least once a year. However, if you live in areas with a lot of wild animals or insects, high humidity, or dust, it wouldn’t hurt to have it cleaned every six months.
In addition to that, pay attention to what you see in your home. For instance, if you begin to notice more dust on your furniture than usual or people in the home get sick more often with any of the symptoms mentioned, you don’t want to wait to have a professional clean the ductwork.
Depending on how dirty the ducts are, you might want to take additional action. As an example, you could have your carpets professionally cleaned or hardwood floors steamed. It would also help to either wash or take any drapes or curtains to a dry cleaner. And, use a good disinfectant on all surfaces.
The Bottom Line
Look, dirty ductwork is common. So, if you have this problem, you’re not alone. The key is to get the ducts thoroughly cleaned, along with the interior of the home. Not only will you have peace of mind but clean ductwork will also help your HVAC system run more efficiently.
About The Author: Lexi Paulson- Outside of digital marketing, Lexi has a strong passion for home improvement and all things décor. When she’s not writing for her clients, you can find Lexi working on home projects and thrifting for unique decorating finds.
Photo by Taylor Vick on Unsplash
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