Duct cleaning is an important part of maintaining any central HVAC system. Most experts recommend having your home’s ductwork professionally cleaned at least once every three to five years. Regular duct cleaning is an easy way to improve indoor air quality and prevent allergy symptoms, breathing problems, rashes, and other health issues. Dust, debris, and allergens will always slowly build up inside your ductwork over time, and your HVAC system will then blow lots of those allergens into every room in your home. If condensation ever forms inside your ducts, mold can also start growing, leading to tons of mold spores circulating through the air. Duct cleaning can help to prevent all of these issues. Here is an overview of how it’s done, why it’s important, and what benefits it can provide.
How to Know If Your Ducts Need to Be Cleaned
While cleaning your ducts every three to five years is always a good idea, there are also some signs you should watch out for that can indicate you ought to schedule a duct cleaning service. One sign is if your home suddenly starts being much dustier than normal. When your air ducts are overly dirty and dusty, your heating and air conditioning will continually spread that dust around the home so you’ll end up needing to clean your floors and other surfaces more frequently.
It’s also a good idea to remove the covers or grilles on all of the vents in your home every few months so you can vacuum out the vents and clean dust and debris off the covers. Vacuuming out the vents is really the only type of cleaning you can do on your own, and it’s important for keeping the vents from clogging. Removing the covers of the vents can also help you to know when your ducts need to be more thoroughly cleaned. If you notice that the vents start filling up with lots of dust, lint, hair, and debris, it’s also a fairly sure sign that it’s time to have your ducts cleaned professionally.
Musty or moldy smells coming from your air conditioning vents when your AC is running can also be a sign that you need to get your ducts professionally cleaned. In this situation, it may be that mold and mildew have started growing inside your ductwork, which is a serious issue that will worsen indoor air quality and could also make you sick.
Construction projects always create lots of dust and debris that can easily get inside your ducts. This is why you should also have your ducts professionally cleaned after completing any remodels or home renovations or if you’ve recently put an addition onto your home.
It is also essential to have your ducts cleaned if you’ve recently had a pest infestation. Cockroaches, mice, rats, and other pests will commonly nest inside air ducts, especially if they are dirty and filled with lots of debris. Whenever you’ve had a pest infestation, there is always a high chance that your ducts will have lots of urine, feces, saliva, and even animal parts or dead pests. All of these things are common allergens that will harm your home’s air quality. Mice and rodent droppings, urine, and saliva can be especially problematic as they all can contain potentially deadly viruses and other harmful pathogens.
How Professional Duct Cleaning Works
Duct cleaning is not something you can ever do effectively on your own. While you can clean out the vents, there is simply no way you could ever remove all of the dust and debris from inside the ducts. If mold is present, the ducts will also need to be fully disinfected to kill the mold and prevent it from returning.
When cleaning your ductwork, the technician will typically first use a camera to inspect inside all of the ducts. This is important for spotting issues like pests and mold, which will necessitate an even more thorough cleaning and disinfecting. The technician will then use an extremely powerful vacuum to suck out all the dust and debris from every branch and section of the duct system. Before cleaning the ducts, it is necessary to cover all of the vents with plastic. This is important for ensuring that the dust remains contained and doesn’t get blown out into your rooms. Covering the vents is also important because it allows the vacuum to create negative pressure inside the duct system so that everything can be cleaned out more easily and effectively.
Duct cleaning is sometimes performed with a vacuum truck, but an industrial vacuum can also be used. In either case, all of the debris will be sucked directly into bags or straight outside the house so that you don’t need to worry about dust and debris being spread around the home during the cleaning process. Once finished, the technician will still make sure to clean everything up so that your home is just as tidy as it was before starting the process.
How Duct Cleaning Can Benefit Your HVAC System
Duct cleaning isn’t just important for improving your home’s air quality. Having your ducts cleaned will also help to make your HVAC system more energy efficient and keep it working more effectively. One reason for this has to do with something called static pressure. In HVAC systems, static pressure refers to how much resistance the air flowing through the duct system meets. When the ducts are clean and properly sealed and they have few, if any, leaks, static pressure is lowest and the air can easily flow through the ducts. When the ducts are filled with lots of debris, the static pressure increases and makes it more difficult for the HVAC blower to move air through the ductwork.
High static pressure puts lots of extra strain on the blower, causing it to work harder and draw more energy. As static pressure increases, the amount of air flowing through the ducts at one time also decreases. This reduced airflow leads to the AC system cooling slower and less effectively. It also decreases the effectiveness of a furnace and makes it heat more slowly. When the cooling or heating rate is decreased, each cooling or heating cycle will be longer, and the system will use more energy. Longer cycles also put more wear and tear on the equipment and can cause it to have a shorter life span or need more frequent repairs.
When the airflow is reduced, the heat produced by the furnace won’t be dispersed as quickly. The furnace can start to overheat and possibly suffer serious damage. Reduced airflow is also one of the most common issues that can cause an AC system to freeze up.
Dirty ductwork will also cause various components like the evaporator coil and blower to collect lots more dirt and dust. Again, this can lead to your AC system freezing up or cause the blower to move air through it less effectively.
At 72 Degrees Heating & Air Conditioning, we specialize in a full range of heating, cooling, and indoor air quality services for customers in Apex and the Triangle area. We offer professional duct cleaning, and our team can also take care of all your HVAC maintenance, repair, and installation needs. For more information on the benefits of duct cleaning or to schedule a cleaning service, give us a call today.