Without ducts, your home’s HVAC system wouldn’t do a lot of good. Ducts are responsible for delivering the cool or warm air that your HVAC system produces to the rest of your home. Otherwise, you’d have a comfortable utility area and an uncomfortable Sterling home. Something that many homeowners don’t realize is that ducts can accumulate dust and debris during normal use. To restore the full performance of your HVAC system, Meade’s Heating and Air highly recommends professional duct cleaning. Understanding just why duct cleaning is important and how often you should have it done is the focus of this article.
How Ducts Collect Dust
It may seem odd that ducts can collect dust since they’re not open to the rest of your home. In general, though, dust finds its way into your ducts from inside the system. When your HVAC system runs, it tends to take in small amounts of dust, even with a good air filter in place. It then passes this dust along to the ducts, where the dust finds places to adhere to the ducts. When ducts change temperature, condensation can form on the metal walls. This condensation provides a perfect place for dust to stick, and the dust eventually bonds with the walls of the duct even when no water is present. Before you know it, you’ve got clogged, dirty ducts.
How Often to Schedule Duct Cleaning
Since all ducts have dust in them, you need to ensure that you schedule regular duct cleaning. One professional organization recommends that you have this process done every three to five years. This interval will help ensure that small amounts of dust can be removed before they have a chance to accumulate and cause complications. One great thing about trustworthy duct cleaning companies is that they will send a camera through your ducts to show you where the dirt is and to ensure that you need their services.
Variables Affecting Cleaning Frequency
Although a three-to-five-year interval is a good rule of thumb for duct cleaning, there are multiple variables affecting this interval. One important variable is the volume of dust that’s present in your home. If you have a lot of pets that shed, frequently have your windows open, or if a smoker lives in your home, you’ll likely need to schedule duct cleaning services more frequently. Another factor is the frequency at which you operate your HVAC system. Since your HVAC system can introduce dust into the ducts, running it more often will get your ducts dirty more quickly. Even the amount of precipitation in your area can affect duct cleanliness. During dry weather, the ground tends to be more dusty, meaning more dust will enter your home and settle in your ducts.
Understanding the Cleaning Process
It’s important to understand the duct-cleaning process so that you know what to expect when a technician from Meade’s Heating and Air comes to your home. First, the technician will send a camera through your ducts to investigate the current condition of your ducts. This will also show them any problem areas that they need to spend extra time on. Next, they will seal off all of your ducts except one so that when they begin cleaning, dust won’t enter your home through open ducts. This also helps create negative pressure to improve suction. After that, they will push a hose attached to a high-powered vacuum through your ducts. This vacuum is special because the main unit sits outside, preventing any dust releases in your home. Once the cleaning process is complete, the technician will push the camera through the ducts again to make sure the ducts are free from dust.
Do-It-Yourself Duct Cleaning
At its core, the process of duct cleaning is essentially just cleaning your ducts with a vacuum cleaner. Given this fact, many people think they can clean their home’s ducts themselves. The problem is that most do-it-yourself solutions will release significant amounts of dust into your home. Then, when your HVAC system runs, it will ingest a lot of this dust and put you right back where you started in terms of duct cleanliness. Additionally, a good duct cleaner should have sufficient HVAC knowledge to ensure they avoid important system components with the camera and vacuum hose so that no damage occurs. The good news is that duct cleaning is a fairly affordable process that you can budget for during the years when you don’t need the services of a duct cleaner.
Mold and Mildew Growth
If you fail to clean your ducts at the proper intervals, there are a few things that could happen. The most serious consequence of ignoring your ducts is that mold and mildew could grow in the dust and debris that’s clogging your ducts. That same condensation that initially attracts the dust can cause the dust to remain moist. Since dust contains organic materials, it provides a welcoming habitat for mold to grow. If mold grows in your ducts, small spores could break off when air moves past the areas of growth. Then, these spores will spread around your home, potentially causing sneezing, coughing, headaches, and other health issues for you and your family. If your home constantly has a musty smell and you can’t find the source, the smell could be coming from your ducts.
Inefficient System Performance
Another major problem of clogged ducts is reduced system performance. This happens especially when dust collects to the point that it significantly restricts the flow of air through a certain duct. This restriction will prevent conditioned air from reaching its destination, meaning that certain rooms will be uncomfortable. If you frequently use those rooms, you’ll be more likely to run your HVAC system more often to try and maintain a comfortable temperature, thus increasing your energy usage and putting more wear and tear on your HVAC system. Another problem with duct restriction is that it puts excess air pressure on the air exchanger in your HVAC system. Over, time, this can lead to system breakdowns that Meade’s Heating and Air will need to address.
How to Prevent Dust From Entering Ducts
Given all the problems that dust can cause in ducts, you should try to do all you can to keep dust out of your ducts. One easy way to help with this is to make sure that you have a clean air filter in place at all times. Although an air filter can’t catch everything, a clean air filter can catch far more than a dirty air filter. Commit to checking the filter once every 30 days for the best results. Additionally, it’s a good idea to have your ducts inspected to see if they have any gaps or cracks that are allowing dust to enter. If a technician discovers any holes in your ducts, they can patch the ducts to keep dust out and conditioned air in.
We Take Care of Your Ducts
At Meade’s Heating and Air, we take pride in caring for your complete HVAC system. That’s why we include duct care, including duct cleaning, repair, and maintenance, as part of our services. In addition, we can repair, maintain, and replace furnaces and air conditioners, install water heaters, perform gas line work, and much more. Since our founding, the professionals at Meade’s Heating and Air have worked hard to build a great reputation in this community. That’s why we are accredited by the Better Business Bureau and consistently receive five-star customer reviews. To learn more about how we can take care of your home’s ducts, contact us at Meade’s Heating and Air today.