HVAC air duct cleaning is a contentious matter. While many professionals recommend scheduling service once every three to five years, others suggest that duct cleaning doesn’t have the most significant impact on the quality of indoor air. There are also industry professionals who advise homeowners to clean their ductwork more frequently. To help you sort things out, the following is everything you need to know about caring for the air ducts in your Oviedo, FL home.
Why Duct Cleaning Is Necessary
HVAC ductwork is the pathway by which conditioned air is distributed. If the thermostat is the brain of your HVAC system’s operations, the ducts are its arteries. When these arteries get clogged, overall performance suffers. One of the main concerns with dirty HVAC air ducts is indoor air quality (IAQ). The dirt, hair, pet dander, and other particulates that collect in the ductwork can break free and be circulated throughout your living space.
Although HVAC systems have air filters that capture and retain a number of particulates, standard air filters are largely intended to protect heaters and air conditioners rather than humans. As such, there are a number of known allergens and contaminants that pass right through them. Moreover, if you wait too long to swap these filters out with fresh ones, even the particulates that they normally collect will permeate both your HVAC system and your indoor air.
Over time and with ongoing use, HVAC air ducts are virtually guaranteed to get dirty. There are also a number of events that can either expedite the buildup of internal debris or expose the interior of your HVAC equipment to harmful pathogens. For instance, if you’ve ever struggled with a widespread mold issue, run your heater or air conditioner during a local smoke alert, or had an infestation of pests, your HVAC air ducts could be riddled with dangerous bacteria, chemicals, or fungi.
Keeping your HVAC system clean from end to end through diligent maintenance will increase its efficiency, extend its lifespan, and limit your operational and repair costs. Air flows better through clean air ducts that are structurally intact. Among the many benefits of routine duct cleaning are less stress for your system and less energy use overall.
Is Every Three to Five Years Right for Your Home?
Scheduling professional HVAC air duct cleaning once every three to five years is the general industry recommendation. This schedule works well for most households that regularly change their HVAC air filters, schedule annual heater and air conditioner tune-ups, and have few to no IAQ concerns.
If you’ve missed a few filter changes, haven’t had your HVAC equipment tuned up in a while, or have consistently high levels of allergens and contaminants in your indoor air, you may need to have your ducts cleaned more often. One of the best ways to get a needs-specific recommendation for how often your ducts should be cleaned is by scheduling an indoor air quality assessment. Not only will this give you a better understanding of how to maintain your air ducts, but it will also reveal the specific airborne contaminants you’re contending with, their most likely sources, and the measures that you can take to breathe a bit easier all the time.
How Often Should Ducts Be Cleaned If Residents Have Chronic Respiratory Issues?
If anyone in your household has chronic or seasonal allergies, asthma, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), you might want to schedule duct cleaning service once every one to two years. Having clean air ducts and a consistently high IAQ can help ease some of the symptoms of these ailments. Conversely, dirty indoor air or air that’s rife with allergens and contaminants may exacerbate common symptoms. Extra diligence in keeping your IAQ high can also be beneficial if you have a new baby on the way, an aging adult in residence, or family members with compromised immune systems.
Other Factors That Impact Your Duct Cleaning Schedule
There are also a number of environmental conditions that make more frequent duct cleaning a good idea. For instance, you probably have a lower-than-average IAQ if you live right near a busy freeway or main street, or if you live near an active construction site. If you have loose fill materials in your yard because you haven’t yet completed your landscaping plan, you likely have a lot of dust and dirt floating through your indoor air. In environments like these, cleaning out HVAC air ducts once every two years could boost your IAQ and make your living environment more enjoyable all around.
Thick carpeting that traps dirt, dander, pet hairs, and other particulates can also impact your duct cleaning schedule. Among the biggest contributors to indoor allergens are inside pets. If you have dogs or cats that stay inside of the home, consider having your air ducts cleaned annually. This is especially important to do if your pets have long hair and shed excessively. Annual duct cleaning is also best for households in which one of the members smokes indoors.
Special Events That Require Urgent Duct Cleaning
It takes just 48 hours for mold spores to form after an indoor flood event. In some instances, such as when building interiors are excessively warm, it may even take less. If you’ve experienced a recent flood event, having your HVAC air ducts cleaned is a great way to ensure that related mold problems don’t recur every time you turn your air conditioner or heater on. These services will remove any mold or mold spores that have infested these structures.
You should schedule HVAC air duct cleaning right away if your heater or air conditioner has stopped working as the result of an excessively dirty air filter. Although swapping the air filter out might restore normal operations, it won’t eliminate the potentially large assortment of debris that has blown off of this component and into the ductwork.
If you’ve recently pulled the body of a dead or dying animal out of your ductwork, you need professional help. Rodents, raccoons, birds, and many other small-sized animals can find their way into these systems while searching for warmth, water, food, or general shelter. Decaying carcasses emit foul-smelling gasses and incredibly harmful pathogens. Living pests shed fur and fleas, and they’re responsible for countless other leavings. Insect eggs, animal feces, and more will diminish your IAQ and create the conditions for illness throughout your home. After dealing with any pest infestation that directly affected the health or integrity of your HVAC ductwork, schedule professional duct cleaning services. This is also important to do after discovering and repairing torn ducts. Leaky ducts allow unfiltered air to travel through the entire system, and this air can bring plenty of airborne contaminants with it.
Taking Care of Your HVAC Air Ducts Between Cleanings
You can limit the buildup of debris at the interior of your HVAC ductwork by installing integrated air cleaning or humidity regulating accessories. Additions such as air purifiers, media filters, or air scrubbers will eliminate the micro-fine particulates that slip past your HVAC air filters. Whole-house dehumidification equipment will maintain balanced indoor humidity so that mold and other fungal growths never have the opportunity to flourish.
Changing your HVAC air filters once every one to three months will keep your ductwork clean between service appointments. You can also use your vacuum cleaner hose attachment or a damp cloth to wipe off accumulations of lint, hair, and dirt on indoor air registers, vents, and grilles.
We’ve been proudly serving residents of Oviedo, Florida and the surrounding area since 1986. We offer air conditioner and heater installation, maintenance, and repair services. We’re also here for all of your duct cleaning and indoor air quality needs. To schedule an appointment, call American Air & Heat today.