If you haven’t had your air ducts cleaned in awhile, an appointment might be worth considering. A few environmental indicators to watch for are excessive dust on your furniture and musty or foul odors.
Air Duct Cleaning isn’t a DIY project. A professional is necessary to clean your entire system according to NADCA best practices.
If you notice that your ducts are full of dust and grime, it’s likely time for a cleaning. It can be hard to reach all the corners and crevices with a brush and vacuum, but an air duct cleaning service can use special tools to do the job. The National Air Duct Cleaners Association recommends a schedule of three to five years for this service, although you may want to have it done more often if your home is especially dusty or you have a rodent problem.
If your ducts are dirty, the contaminants that cling to them can circulate throughout the entire house, and they will end up in your nose and lungs. This can cause irritation of the sinuses and lungs, which is particularly unpleasant for those with asthma or other respiratory problems. In addition, the particles can be abrasive and cause damage to your HVAC system over time.
The dust and debris that build up in your ducts can also include pet dander, mildew, mold spores, and bacteria, which are all harmful to your health. Having these contaminants circulating in your house is not good for anyone, but it’s especially bad for those with allergies or other breathing issues.
Dirty ducts can also contain animal droppings and nesting materials, which are both unhealthy and unsightly for your home. Rodents, insects, and other vermin enjoy setting up shop in cozy, warm ducts, and their droppings, fur, or shells can block airflow and fill your home with nasty odors.
Lastly, if your ducts are new construction or have recently been renovated, they are probably full of construction dirt and dust. Even if the contractors are diligent about closing off work areas and keeping things neat, some of this will get into your ductwork.
When you schedule an air duct cleaning appointment, make sure that you can clear a path for the technician and make arrangements to have your pets or children elsewhere for the day. Duct cleaners will make some noise, and they will need to get into every room of your house to inspect and clean the ducts. During this process, the technician will likely need to open and close each vent.
When your HVAC system blows air throughout your home, it may pick up a variety of contaminants. These include dust, mold spores, secondhand smoke, and pet dander and fur. These impurities are blown into different rooms of your home, which can exacerbate allergy symptoms and make people who suffer from asthma or other respiratory problems uncomfortable.
These allergens can enter your home through open windows and doors, on clothes and shoes, or on the bodies of your family members. Once they are inside, they can settle on surfaces or become airborne, which means that when your HVAC system circulates them through your house, they are pushed into every room.
Your immune system is designed to recognize these substances as foreign and attack them, causing your body to release chemicals that lead to allergic reactions like a runny nose, itchy eyes, or a cough. Dirty ducts typically contain many of these allergens, so when your HVAC system pushes them around the house, you can be exposed to them and experience an allergic reaction.
Cleaning the ducts can reduce or even eliminate these allergens from your home, helping to relieve allergies and other respiratory issues in your family. However, the effects of air duct cleaning are limited and depend on the method used to clean them. Some methods are more likely to damage your ductwork or cause additional contamination, which can exacerbate allergies.
The best way to determine if your allergies can be improved by cleaning the ducts is to talk with an allergy specialist. They can give you advice tailored to your needs and recommend the most effective methods for cleaning your ductwork.
Allergies are often thought of as outdoor problems, such as itchy eyes in the spring when yellow pollen is swirling in the air or a scratchy throat when humidity levels increase and mold spores thrive. But allergies can affect anyone at any time and may be caused by pollutants that are blown into the house through the air ducts or by dust or pet dander from infected furniture. Air duct cleaning can help alleviate these allergies and improve indoor air quality.
When ductwork is infested with mold, the spores are circulated throughout the house. The mold will irritate the sinuses and lungs of those who breathe it in, leading to health problems such as coughing, wheezing, and breathing difficulties. A home-made or commercially produced solution can be used to kill the mold and sanitize the area. However, homeowners should take care when cleaning their own ductwork, as improper methods can spread the mold and make it harder to remove once it is gone.
Ductwork is also a prime location for the growth of fungus and mildew due to moisture buildup. The condensation produced by the air conditioning unit creates a perfect breeding ground for these organisms. This is especially true if the air ducts are not properly insulated.
Other conditions that can cause mold to develop in air ducts include pet dander, smoke odors, and water damage from leaks or floods. These conditions can also contribute to the production of airborne dust mites, which are a significant contributor to allergy symptoms.
The first sign of potential mold in air ducts is the appearance of spots on the air vents, which can appear in a variety of colors. If you notice any of these spots, it is time to get your ducts cleaned.
Another way to tell if you have mold in your air ducts is by smelling the air when you come back into the house after being away for a while. If you smell a musty, wet odor, it is probably time for an air duct cleaning.
You can also check for mold in your air ducts by using a moisture meter to determine if there is a problem with water or moisture. If the ducts are full of moisture, you should consider hiring a professional for an air duct cleaning.
If you think you have mold in your ducts, it is important to act quickly. This is because mold can be a serious health concern, and it can also lead to a host of other issues, such as asthma attacks, allergic reactions, and even infections.
Aside from dust and mold, air ducts can also be a source of unpleasant smells. The source of the odor can help determine how to best tackle the problem. A musty or stale smell often indicates the presence of mold and mildew. This is particularly common in cooling systems. If the odor smells rancid, it may be an indication of a dead animal in your ductwork. It is important to call a professional if you smell this because the dead animal could spread bacteria throughout your home and lead to respiratory illnesses.
Pets contribute to bad odors in air ducts because fur and dander can be sucked into the system and recirculated throughout the house. The scent of pet urine can also be carried in this way, giving your home a sickening smell that will persist unless the air ducts are cleaned.
If the odor is reminiscent of sewage or rotting garbage, this may indicate that your air ducts are infiltrated by rodents. This is very problematic and should be dealt with immediately. Rodents often make their way into air ducts through holes or cracks, and they can cause extensive damage. A professional should be called to remove the critters and ensure that any openings are properly sealed.
Some duct cleaning companies recommend that chemical biocides or sealants be used in the cleaning process to kill germs and prevent future biological growth in your air ducts. Be wary of any company that proposes the use of these products, as they have not been tested for safety or effectiveness on bare metal air ducts and may pose health risks.
While a clean air duct is a great benefit for the overall well-being of your family, it’s especially important for infants, elderly people, and those with respiratory illnesses. These individuals require cleaner, fresher air to avoid respiratory problems. Duct cleaning is the best solution to keeping contaminants out of your breathing space and reducing the risk of allergies, respiratory illnesses, and other problems.