Your AC unit's ductwork is an essential component that enables the clean and efficient delivery of air throughout your home. If you are experiencing issues with indoor air quality, excessive dust, or loss of system efficiency, then you may want to consider calling in an HVAC professional to clean your ducts.
When do HVAC companies typically recommend duct cleaning? According to the Environmental Protection Agency, there is no set time for you to have your ductwork cleaned like you would perform other regular maintenance tasks. Instead, the EPA indicates that you should consider having your ducts cleaned only when it is needed. Other experts recommend that you have your ducts cleaned every 3 to 5 years.
Some signs that you may need to have your ducts cleaned include:
- Mold growth in your HVAC system. Mold growth can be a huge HVAC-related problem, especially in humid climates. If mold is growing on the surface of your ductwork, then it needs to be cleaned as soon as possible. Moreover, your technician needs to identify the root cause of the mold growth and eliminate that as well.
- The presence of vermin. If rodents or other pests have found their way into your duct system, they may have built nests that block airflow. An HVAC professional will need to go in, clean out any nests, droppings, and other vermin-related matter, and seal up the hole from which the vermin infiltrated the unit.
- Excessive dust. Another reason why many homeowners decide to have their ducts cleaned is the accumulation of dust and debris throughout the HVAC system. A thorough duct cleaning will eliminate many excess dust particles, and allow you to breathe easier.
Why Should You Consider Duct Cleaning?
There are several potential benefits associated with duct cleaning, such as:
- Better air quality. Clean ductwork results in the circulation of fewer airborne allergens and other contaminants. As a result, you are able to breathe easier and avoid allergy-related side effects, like coughing, sneezing, or inflammation.
- Increased energy efficiency. When an A/C unit is clogged up with dirt particles, it must expend more energy to provide adequate circulation throughout the home. By periodically having your ducts cleaned, you'll ensure that your system keeps running at peak efficiency — which means a lower energy bill each month.
- An extended lifespan for your unit. The accumulation of dust and debris on your unit's coils can eventually lead to premature system failure. Duct cleaning that removes such accumulation serves to extend the functional lifespan of your system.
What Does Duct Cleaning Entail?
Duct cleaning basically involves a 4-step process:
- The HVAC technician inspects your ducts. This visual inspection provides the technician with an opportunity to check your ductwork for dirt, dust, and debris accumulation, as well as holes, kinks, and other signs of damage.
- The technician starts a vacuum. Your technician will have a specialized vacuum collection device designed to suck all the dirt particles and debris out of your system. The tech will link the device to your ductwork and initiative negative pressure throughout the unit (first the supply side, then the return side).
- The technician agitates the dust within the system. Once your system is under negative pressure, the HVAC technician will clean the ducts one at a time. Reputable technicians use rotating brushes, air compressors, and vacuum cleaners to make sure that as much dust is dislodged as possible.
- Finally, the technician cleans the rest of the system. While this is not technically a part of "duct cleaning," most HVAC technicians will go ahead and clean the other components in the unit, like the blower motor, coils, and drain pan. The technician may also change out the system's air filter for good measure.
While we don't offer duct cleaning services, we'd be happy to assist in referring you to one of our partners that does! And if you find yourself with air quality issues or in need of an AC repair or replacement, don't hesitate to contact us to find out how we can help.