According to the U.S. EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), knowledge regarding air duct cleaning is still in its early stages, so there cannot be one recommendation that is the perfect answer. Studies are still being conducted to prove things conclusively one way or the other. In the interim, you would want to err on the side of caution because that is the wisest thing to do. Chew on the fact that a single air duct cleaning helps you get rid of approximately 6 pounds of dust per home.
What Are Air Ducts?
Ducts are tube-like structures or passages that are used in HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) systems to distribute and remove air. These are usually connected to air vents that are installed inside the house. Hot or cold air passes through the air ducts and enters the home via the air vents.
Air Duct Cleaning
Air duct cleaning is the procedure wherein all the accumulations like dust and debris are cleared from the air ducts, registers, and any other parts of the forced air system.
The air ducts are usually concealed behind the walls and overhead in the ceilings. In short, they are hard to reach, and even then, you may not be able to access the entire length and breadth of it. The only effective way to reach and clean them is by using a truck-mounted and high-power vacuum system. A regular household vacuum cleaner will not do the trick due to its relatively low power and less reach.
Importance Of Air Duct Cleaning
Here are a few reasons why we consider air duct cleaning important:
1. Improve Indoor Air Quality – The air that you and your family breathe in is the same that passes through the air ducts. If the ducts are not cleaned, they become a breeding home to allergens and sometimes even critters (if you are unlucky). In case you have any pets or have renovated your home recently, your ducts would have attracted large amounts of dust and dander. These particles re-enter your home with the air that blows in. On their own, they may just add to the unwanted matter floating in the air or deposited on different surfaces. But for the elderly and patients suffering from asthma, they can become a health hazard. Cleaning the air ducts may not eliminate the airborne particles completely but will definitely reduce them drastically and improve the overall air quality.
2. Improve Energy Efficiency – Dust and debris tend to restrict the airflow. When the flow of air gets restricted, it is unable to move freely amongst the components of your heating and cooling system. As a result, your unit now has to work longer and harder to reach the desired temperature settings. Its flip side is that the system consumes more power to perform the same job as before and still fails at it miserably, providing inadequate heating and cooling. To summarize, the efficiency of the unit drops due to accumulations in the air ducts. Cleaning them will restore the lost efficiency to a large extent.
3. Protect The Heating And Cooling system – Dirty air ducts can lead to dirty air conditioner coils. It can also contaminate the wheels of the blower and increase friction between the parts that rub against each other. Dirty air conditioner coils will prevent proper cooling of the air and also increase the humidity inside the home. Those parts that rub against each other can heat up and burn, resulting in expensive repairs. Cleaning the ducts will increase the productive life of your costly heating and cooling system.
4. Remove Smells And Odors – Most homes will have their own unique smell. It is usually a combination of personal hygiene products, foods, air fresheners, and such. Sometimes this smell may be pleasant and, at other times, quite offending. Air ducts tend to trap smells like cigarette smoke, paint fumes, mildew, cleaning agents, etc. These smells are absorbed by the particle matter trapped inside the ducts. When these particles find their way back into your home, it starts smelling. If you want a permanent solution to the unwanted smells permeating your home, air duct cleaning may be the only perfect solution.
When Is Air Duct Cleaning Imperative
Listed below are a few cases in which you should resort to air duct cleaning without wasting any time:
1. If you see visible mold growth in the air ducts, you need to see to their cleaning ASAP. If you are not sure whether the substance is mold, you can collect a sample and send it to a microbiology lab for confirmation.
2. If your ducts are infested with pests and rodents, you will have to get them cleaned prior to getting any treatment to prevent any future infestations.
3. If you haven’t gotten your air ducts cleaned in the past couple of years, the chances of accumulations inside them are pretty high. Cleaning them immediately will improve the efficiency of your HVAC system and also enhance the quality of air.
How Often Should Air Ducts Be Cleaned?
According to the National Air Duct Cleaners Association, your ducts should be cleaned at least once between 3 to 5 years. In case you live in an area that is highly polluted or faces frequent dust storms, the same should happen once in two years. In the end, it all depends on how much dust and pollutants find their way inside your home.
The average cost of cleaning the air ducts is $35 per vent. However, the price may vary slightly depending on the size of your ducts and the ease of accessing them. If you wish to undertake the cleaning task yourself, we will highly recommend you against it as you won’t be able to do a thorough job of it. Contractors offering professional duct cleaning services are the best and obvious solution if you desire complete and systematic cleaning of the air ducts.
Feel free to contact Aztil AC if you have any problems, queries, or concerns regarding your HVAC system.