How to Tell When You Need Air Duct Cleaning

Your air ducts are responsible for delivering heated or cooled air throughout your home. However, like any other mechanical system, air ducts should be cleaned to remove dust and debris buildup. Most of the dirt and grime will be too far inside the ductwork for you to reach, so it’s wise to consider professional air duct cleaning services. Local comfort specialists like Simons Heating & Cooling can offer some tips for you to know how to maintain indoor air quality year-round.

How Do I Know If My Air Ducts Are Dirty?

It would be tough for an average homeowner to get a clear look inside the air ducts and determine when they should be cleaned. Fortunately, there are some signs noticeable around the vents’ openings you can use to help figure out when the ducts need attention. Signs include:

  • Visible mold or mildew growth just inside the ducts.
  • Dust, dirt or other debris coming out of the vent registers during a heating/cooling cycle.
  • Moldy, burning or other odd smells coming from the ventilation.
  • Reduced airflow from certain vents or less comfort in specific rooms.
  • Allergy symptoms like sneezing or coughing are getting worse. Other respiratory problems like asthma are also vulnerable.
  • A spike in monthly energy bills.

What Happens If Air Ducts Aren’t Cleaned?

If air ducts are never cleaned, they can become clogged with debris, negatively impacting your HVAC system’s energy efficiency. This in turn leads to other issues, including:

  • Weaker airflow and increased energy bills as your HVAC works harder to push air through the clogged ducts.
  • Higher concentrations of airborne contaminants lower the indoor air quality, potentially harming your health and well-being.
  • Foreign debris encourages the growth of mold, bacteria and other microorganisms. Microbes produce musty odors and can worsen existing health problems.
  • Severe clogs can even damage the ducts, leading to leaks and a major loss in HVAC efficiency. The longer this goes on, the worse the damage can get.

How Often Should Air Ducts Be Professionally Cleaned?

Air ducts should be professionally cleaned, but how often you should depends on several factors. The National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) recommends that you should clean your air ducts every 3-5 years, or more frequently if any of the following conditions apply:

  • You recently remodeled your home or completed any significant construction work.
  • You have pets that shed hair or dander.
  • You live in an area with high levels of dust, pollution or other airborne contaminants.
  • You or someone in your home has allergies or respiratory problems.
  • You notice visible mold growth inside the ducts or on other parts of the HVAC system.
  • You notice weaker airflow or lots of dirt and dust coming out of the vents.

Can You Clean Your Home Air Ducts Yourself?

While it’s possible to clean air ducts yourself, it will be a difficult and time-consuming task with how hard it is to reach most of the ventilation. The task is made even more difficult without the proper training and equipment, like specialized vacuums capable of reaching far into the air ducts. If you’re unsure where to begin, it may be best to hire professionals. They know how to assess your property’s ductwork layout for the most efficient cleaning possible.

If you have any other questions about your ventilation, or if you wish to schedule duct cleaning, call Simons Heating & Cooling today at (518) 839-2602.