Air Duct Cleaning – When to Clean Air Ducts
The air inside the home can be as dangerous and toxic as the air outside the home. In winter, houses are closed tight to prevent cold air from coming in and increasing utility bills. This makes the situation worse, as children are exposed to these toxins and can develop allergies from the dust and dirty air in the home.
What is Air Duct Cleaning?
The heating and cooling system in a home have ducts that bring air and heat in and take it out. There are ducts throughout the house that handle this air flow. The ducts should be cleaned occasionally to ensure they are not contributing to the pollution inside the home. The ducts can become filled with dust, pollen, dirt, and mold spores. These harmful spores and dirt can be released into the home, exposing family members to these contaminants.
Cleaning air ducts in the home involves cleaning the components of the heating and cooling system as well as the forced air system. This includes air ducts and registers, heating and cooling coils, fan motor and housing, the heat exchanger, and the air handling unit housing. These components are cleaned by using special tools to dislodge the dirt and debris, and then vacuuming them out with high powered vacuum cleaners.
When to Clean Air Ducts
Some people think that cleaning air ducts is not necessary, but they are potentially putting their loved ones at risk for allergies and upper respiratory problems. Each home is different so there really is no set amount of time in which air duct cleaning should take place. By removing the return register covers and looking in them with a flashlight, it is possible to determine if they are very dirty or not. But, mold spores and other bacterial contaminants could be difficult to spot. Using the vacuum nozzle to vacuum down in the return register can clean out some of the dirt and debris, but will probably not dislodge any mold spores.
One sign that it may be time to clean air ducts is if family members suddenly develop allergy symptoms or continually have upper respiratory problems. While this is not always indicative of a problem that can be resolved by air duct cleaning, it should be considered.
The EPA does not recommend a set schedule for cleaning air ducts, but does caution that if the home has a fireplace, fuel burning furnace or stove that those ducts be inspected regularly to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Many people feel that air ducts should be cleaned simply because they get dirty.
Always hire licensed professionals to clean air ducts in the home. If it is not done properly it can cause contaminants to be released into the home, causing more problems.