Your air ducts are not likely part of what comes to the top of your mind when you think about keeping your home clean. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, people encounter between two and five times more pollutants in the air inside their homes than in the air outside. Part of the cause is the air moving through your HVAC system picking up some of the contaminants that build up in your ducts and circulating them back into the air. Discover the standard recommendation for how often you should have your ducts cleaned, factors that may influence that frequency, and whether you should try to DIY clean them.
The Recommended Cleaning Schedule
Your ducts do not typically require cleaning as frequently as the rest of your home, or as often as your HVAC system. Rather, the industry-standard recommendation is to clean your ducts every three to five years. Some approaches to duct cleaning may even help extend that schedule by a few years.
However, there are times when you may want to consider having your ducts cleaned more frequently. A few symptoms you may look for that indicate it’s time for a cleaning include increasing cold or allergy symptoms, excessive dust around your home, a musty smell from your vents, you have poor airflow from your vents, or there’s constant visible dust around your vents.
Beyond those signs, there are some times when you should plan to have your ducts cleaned. Adhering to these indications can help reduce the strain on your HVAC system, prevent health problems in your home, and make being home generally more comfortable.
People in Your Home With Medical Conditions
Let’s start with the people who reside in your home. Certain medical conditions are exacerbated by poor air quality, such as asthma and people with compromised immune systems.
In these cases, work with your medical team and your HVAC provider to determine how often you should have your ducts cleaned. For these individuals, you may also want to consider other options for helping control your indoor air quality, such as adding a whole-house UV air purifier or an air scrubber.
Changes to Your Home’s Structure
Most homeowners complete projects to improve their home’s equity at some point. These can be as simple as repainting the house, putting on an addition, removing a wall, erecting a wall, or finishing a basement, just to name a few. All of these projects produce a substantial amount of dust, which will eventually work its way into your home’s ducts.
Many of these particles cause respiratory irritation, which is why it’s recommended to wear a respirator while completing the work. What ends up in your ducts can be just as problematic as breathing it in during the project, but often goes unnoticed until there are questions about why people in the house are experiencing more respiratory problems. Once you’ve completed your project, plan to have your ducts professionally cleaned to remove the remaining dust and dirt you may not see.
Moving to a New Place
Whether you’re moving into a new construction or into a place that’s just new to you, you really don’t know what you’re going to get. Most people will do an overall surface cleaning as they prepare to move, but the ducts often get missed. New constructions often have dust and dirt from everything from drywall to sanding the mud before painting, and it’s just a good idea to start with clean ducts.
If you’re moving into a new place with a former owner or resident, you probably don’t know how long it’s been since the ducts were cleaned. This is especially problematic if the former resident had pets, smoked inside, or had other aspects of their lifestyle that contribute to additional contaminants in the ducts.
Hobbies That Create Dust
Depending on your property, you may choose to work on your hobbies inside a room in your house. When these hobbies create a lot of dust, that dust will work its way into your ducts and begin circulating throughout your home.
Depending on how often and how intensely you work on your hobbies, you may want to have your ducts cleaned as often as once a year. In this case, look for symptoms that it’s time for cleaning, such as excessive dustiness around your home, an air filter that clogs quickly, or reduced airflow from your vents.
Problems with Excessive Moisture
While Chandler is generally considered fairly dry, your home may experience excessive moisture if your basement floods or you have a plumbing issue. When this happens, your home may experience a period of excessive humidity, increasing the risk of spores and other biological contaminants starting to thrive. Your ducts create the perfect place for these spores to settle and multiply.
If you’ve had a water problem in your home, consider having your ducts cleaned once the rest of the water mitigation and restoration work is completed. Be sure to discuss with your crew that you had a water issue so that they use the appropriate antimicrobial cleaner in your ducts to reduce the risk of any recurrent problems.
Pest or Rodent Infestation
As much as you may try, pests and rodents eventually end up in your home, and you may deal with some kind of infestation. Ducts are some of the common places for these critters to travel, if not to nest and live. They’ll leave feces and dander throughout the system to circulate into your air. Once you have the infestation dealt with, have your ducts cleaned to remove any contaminants left behind. Be sure to alert the crew to the original problem so that they use the appropriate disinfectant to make your ducts safe once again.
Should You Attempt to DIY Clean Your Ducts?
When you look at videos of how companies clean ducts, it’s easy to think that you could try to do it yourself and save a little money. However, there’s a major difference between DIY and professional duct cleaning. Most people will try to use their vacuum cleaner or a shop vac to clean their ducts. However, that leaves a lot of contaminants lodged where your hose can’t reach. Most people don’t have all of the specialized equipment used to properly clean ducts. Beyond being ineffective, the lack of proper equipment and training also increases the risk of damaging your ducts while trying to clean them.
When a professional team cleans your ducts, they create a negative pressure environment in the ducts. This pulls the debris from the vents by sealing them except for a single air intake and a single outlet. Beyond the negative pressure, professionals have specialized brushes and equipment that reach through your entire system, allowing them to agitate and loosen all of the debris and contaminants. Finally, your technicians may use a specialized, non-toxic antimicrobial cleaner to eliminate any residual microscopic biological contaminants.
Emergency Air Heating and Cooling is who Arizonans around Chandler call to keep their home’s air comfortable and clean. Our expert technicians provide indoor air quality services, such as air duct cleaning, along with heating and air conditioning installation, maintenance and repair. Call to schedule your duct cleaning appointment with our meticulously careful technicians today.