Air duct cleaning has become more common over the last few years. While every family may not need it, it is something that you should at least know about. There are a lot of services that provide duct cleaning, but how do you tell if your air ducts truly need cleaning or not?
What Is Duct Cleaning And How Does It Help?
Duct cleaning is the process of removing the dust, debris, mold, bacteria, and other contaminants that have built up inside your heating and cooling systems ducts. It is commonly performed as part of an HVAC installation or repair, but it can also be necessary to restore functionality to your existing system.
The first step to proper duct cleaning is understanding what makes up the system. There are two main types of ducts: supply and return. Supply ducts are those that carry conditioned air from your furnace or air conditioning unit to the rest of the house, while return ducts are those that carry warm air back to your furnace or AC unit.
You probably haven't thought about how much dust and debris have accumulated in your ducts over time. That accumulation can cause problems such as reduced airflow and higher energy bills — not to mention decreased air quality in your home.
Allergens In Your Ducts
There are various allergens that can collect in your ductwork. Some of these have been found to be carcinogenic or capable of causing other types of health issues. Inhaling dust particles from the following materials, for example, can cause allergic reactions and other problems:
- Asbestos—Asbestos was commonly used as a fire retardant in the insulation for ducts. It was popular because it could withstand very high temperatures, but this made it a serious health risk because it could become friable, meaning that it could easily be inhaled.
- Dust mites—Dust mites are a common type of allergen found in home environments. They live off of dead skin cells and can grow quite prolifically under the right conditions. Dust mite allergies are quite common. Their presence is usually revealed through sneezing, coughing, wheezing, rashes, and red eyes caused by exposure to the irritants they emit as part of their digestive process.
- Pollen—Pollen from various plants can end up in your ductwork if you have forced-air heating or cooling systems that use outside air to cool your home during warmer months.
There can be other things in your ductwork that can make you sick, too, such as illnesses like colds and cases of flu.
Efficiency After Duct Cleaning
Your HVAC system should operate more efficiently after having the ducts cleaned. Here's why:
Air duct cleaning can remove particles like dust, pet dander, lichens, molds, and other particles that get lodged in the furnace filters over time. When these accumulate, they get blown into the ducts of your HVAC system, which leads to blocked filters and reduced airflow. This slows down the motor that blows air through the vents of your home, reducing efficiency. The dirt that gets lodged in your furnace filters can also cause them to deteriorate faster than normal.
Air duct cleaning improves airflow in your home by removing debris from the air ducts. When the air is able to circulate freely in your HVAC system, it can heat and cool your home more efficiently. After having your air ducts cleaned, you should notice an improvement in your heating bills. You might even notice that it takes less time to warm up the rooms in your house when it's cold out.
If you are concerned about the HVAC ducts in your home, contact a duct cleaning service to get help cleaning them.