How Often You Should Clean Your Air Ducts and Why They Should be Cleaned
Air ducts are the most neglected part of the HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) system. They remain hidden behind the walls or under the floor and so are easy to forget. The problem with forgetting is that one fails to understand that the air you breathe when indoors passes through the ducts and tends to pick up several unwanted elements that deteriorate its quality. Time and again, we impress upon the homeowners the importance of air duct cleaning. Those who pay heed have far fewer problems than those who don’t.
Why Is Cleaning The Air Ducts Important?
No cleaning of the ducts leads to accumulations inside them. These accumulations consist of dust, dirt, dander, insect droppings, smoke, mold, and such. In addition, there can also be a slow and steady build-up of pathogens inside the ducts. Needless to say, all these elements can and will harm your health if they find their way inside your living space.
- Health Problems – As we mentioned above, the treated air passes through the ducts before it enters the home via the vents to provide desired heating or cooling. When the air passes over these accumulations, it picks up many of these contaminants and spreads them into every corner of the house. Hence, a space that was earlier clean and hygienic becomes unhealthy and dingy. The occupants will feel unwell while indoor and perfectly fine when they are outdoors. It results in what is commonly known as the Sick Building Syndrome.
- Undue Stress On HVAC System – The other reason why dirty air ducts are considered a grave problem is that it restricts the uninterrupted flow of air to and from the HVAC system. Every heating and cooling system requires unrestricted airflow to do its job optimally. If this one essential requirement is not fulfilled, it will put the unit under extreme stress. The unit will work hard to heat or cool the home and yet fail to do so due to restricted air movement. The vicious cycle would continue until the central heating and cooling system shuts down or burns out.
If you wish to avoid health problems and extend the life of your HVAC system, cleaning the air ducts is very important. There is no dearth of duct cleaning services. Take their help to ensure that your ducts don’t hold any unpleasant surprises.
What Lurks Inside The Ducts?
We spoke about contaminants in the air ducts, but what exactly are these contaminants? Let us briefly have a look at all those things that you can find inside the ductwork.
- Dust, dirt, and debris.
- Rodents, pests, insects, and critters.
- Dead skin cells and hair (mostly of pets and critters).
- Droppings or feces of pests, rodents, and critters.
- Dead and decaying bodies of the animals mentioned above.
- Mold, mildew, and mold spores.
- Fungus and fungal spores.
- Tobacco smoke and smoke from the kitchen.
- Fumes from cleaning agents, disinfectants, paints, deodorants, perfumes, etc.
- Pathogens like bacteria and viruses.
Though we may consider these to be a part of our environment and their presence normal, the truth remains, when their concentration in the air we breathe increases, it can cause severe allergic reactions to long-standing diseases. With every air conditioning cycle, the indoor air quality becomes poorer and poorer. Your only respite is in duct cleaning.
How Often Should The Air Ducts Be Cleaned?
Now that you are fully aware of the importance of air duct cleaning let’s talk about its frequency. Air ducts don’t get dirty overnight. Reaching the dirty state is a gradual process, one which takes years. There is no one rule that is true for all homes. Though based on where you live, and provided you change your air filters every month, here’s your basic guide to apt frequency for duct cleaning:
- If Your Locality Is Frequented With Dust Storms Or You Live In A Polluted City – If you reside in a place where dust storms are a regular occurrence, your residence is in proximity to some industrial area, or you live in a polluted city, you should think of duct cleaning at least once every three years.
- If You Live In A Relatively Clean Environment – For all other homes that don’t fall in the above category, we assume that you live in a relatively cleaner environment. So you can get away with a bigger gap between two consecutive duct cleanings. Nonetheless, ensure that your ducts get a thorough professional cleaning once every five years.
Only Professionals For Duct Cleaning
A full-on duct cleaning cannot be carried out with the regular household equipment. Moreover, ducts are fragile. Hence, one should not risk damaging them. Use only professional duct cleaning services like Aztil Air Conditioning for the job. Professionals have powerful industrial equipment that can reach far and wide into the ducts and clean every nook and cranny. A professional will always be careful in completing the job causing no damage.
Air ducts should be cleaned by professional cleaners every five years. If you live in an area that is exceptionally prone to dust storms, exhaust, or fumes, duct cleaning every three years will be a better option. Clean ducts mean a clean and healthy home. Therefore, do not make the mistake of overlooking the importance of air duct cleaning.
About The Author: Louis Lionelli is the President of Aztil Air Conditioning.
Photo by Max Vakhtbovych from Pexels
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