Many different components connect to provide hot and cool air inside a home. Homeowners may focus their attention on the furnace or air conditioning system when thinking about routine maintenance, which seems wise. Overlooking problems with the major components could lead to problems. Even when there’s nothing seriously wrong, a routine cleaning and filter change helps keep the units running optimally.
What about the ducts, though? The fan blows air into the home, but how does the air get where it needs to go? The air travels through the ductwork and out through vents located at strategic spots in the house. The ducts might not be fully visible to homeowners, and homeowners must resist the passive urge to overlook them. Why allow the ducts to accumulate a significant amount of dirt and debris?
Scheduling a duct cleaning addresses many obvious and some not-so-obvious troubles. When should a homeowner schedule a duct cleaning? What is the preferred frequency? Here is a look at the answers:
A Top Organization’s Recommendation
The National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) stands as an industry body that carries credibility in the HVAC industry. The NADCA makes a standard recommendation for air duct cleaning frequency, and that recommendation is every three to five years. Five years is a long time, however, and there could be a significant buildup of dirt, dust, and other debris. Cobwebs could find a home in the air ducts as well. Clearing out the air ducts on a fairly routine schedule could help address any problems with dirt in the ducts. And remember that the longer a homeowner neglects the ducts, the dirtier they become.
Of course, cleaning out the ducts could drastically reduce the volume of impurities. Remove the dust, and it can’t fly into the home. Employ a more frequent cleaning schedule, such as every three years rather than every four or five, and dust and dirt won’t have as much time to accumulate.
Air Traveling Through the Ducts
Air blows through the ductwork and then exits out the vents. During its travels, the air could pick up impurities that may find their way into the home. Imagine pulling an old fan covered in dust out of the attic and turning it on. The collected dust would likely fly off the fan and into the air. The presence of impurities coming from the ducts might not be so obvious, but they’ll likely be there. Take this as a reason to have indoor air quality checks performed. You never know what might be in the air until you have a professional take steps to test it.
Don’t forget the vents, either. Be mindful of checking and cleaning the vents. Dust might pile up on the grating. Thankfully, vents are not too difficult to clean, and a homeowner could easily perform a do-it-yourself job. Why not check the vents routinely when performing regular housework cleaning inside the home?
It may be beneficial to keep an eye on the vents. Does dust come out of the vents when the air blows through? If so, then there may be a significant buildup of dirt or dust inside the ducts. Anything that seems out of the ordinary warrants a closer look.
Timing the Duct Cleaning
Are there any specific times of the year that are preferable for cleaning the ducts? In truth, there is no “bad time” to request a cleaning. If you never had the ducts cleaned, then it might be preferable to call in a cleaning team right away. If there were a season that seems preferable, it would likely be the spring. Spring weather is usually mild, which means that running the air conditioner or the furnace isn’t necessary. When the HVAC system gets a break, cleaning the ducts comes with fewer inconveniences.
In addition, HVAC companies might become overwhelmed with service calls during the winter and summer. When people discover problems as the temperature becomes extreme, HVAC companies find the phone ringing a lot. Home service visits may come with longer waits. A spring booking might move a lot quicker.
If you live in Anoka, MN, or the Twin Cities area and require any heating and cooling work, Liberty Comfort Systems stands at the ready. Our team handles both duct cleaning and indoor air quality services, which local residents may be needing this time of year.
Inspecting the Ducts
While a homeowner may decide to clean the ducts once every three to five years, the homeowner should also consider annual inspections. Hopefully, the homeowner has a deal in place for annual maintenance with an HVAC contractor. Routine furnace and air conditioner inspections allow a technician to make sure that everything works properly. If not, then the contractor could make recommendations for repairs, part replacements, and other services. The inspection may extend to the ducts, and having someone check them seems prudent. The system might be in far worse shape than anyone realizes, so a cleaning ahead of schedule might be worth requesting.
Also, a duct inspection allows the HVAC technician to check for any potential problems. The ducts may be loose or suffer from damage, which could drastically undermine energy efficiency. Taking steps to perform any duct repairs begins with finding out about the ducts’ condition, so it’s important to ask for an inspection.
Problems That Might Befall the Ducts
A thorough inspection might reveal problems that require addressing right away. For example, there could be mold growth inside the ducts. Even if the ducts underwent an effective cleaning one year ago, things could occur over the following months, leading to mold growth. Allowing mold to remain in the ducts for two years would likely be a disastrous idea. Mold presents health problems and concerns, so immediately dealing with the issue becomes necessary.
The presence of pests may also raise alarms about the ducts’ condition. Rodents could cause significant damage, and they may leave waste inside the system. If a home requires an exterminator’s visit, it may be wise to have the ducts checked. Rodent and other pest-related issues may necessitate a good cleaning.
Has there been any construction or remodeling work done in the home recently? Construction and repairs could kick some dirt into the ducts, and getting the debris out seems advisable. There’s another thing worth pointing out: Construction might cause the ducts to come loose. If that happens, expect to lose air through the damaged spots. Requesting a duct check-up by an HVAC team may uncover any problems, such as damage or dirt and debris buildup, that could lead to troubles. Don’t neglect the ducts as they are a vital part of the HVAC system.
Liberty Comfort Systems welcomes the opportunity to help area homeowners with duct cleaning and other services. Did you know that we also handle electrical work, perform indoor air quality audits, and offer maintenance plans? We’re also a Lennox Premier Dealer and belong to the Minnesota Heating & Cooling Association. Call our office right away to schedule a home visit.