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Duct Cleaning – 5 Signs You Need It

It’s heating up outside, and your air conditioner is about to click into high gear! Just like your car or any major appliance, your home’s cooling system will perform better with regular maintenance. Consider air duct cleaning to ensure the longevity of your entire HVAC system. 

Despite routinely replacing filters, your home’s HVAC system gets dirty with regular everyday use. Your air ducts are a favorite hiding place for dust, dirt, and allergens to linger. That dust and dirt is filled with contaminants and air pollutants that can not only harm your indoor air quality, but can also cause your system to work harder. This not only increases your energy bills, but can also significantly shorten the lifespan of your system.

How to Know if You Need Air Duct Cleaning

Want to know if you need to have your ducts cleaned? Here are 5 dead giveaways of dirty air ducts!

1) Mold

While we all know how dust can negatively affect our health, mold is a whole different ballgame! Not only can it exacerbate allergies and respiratory problems, it can also spread quickly throughout your home. 

Your heating and cooling system can develop condensation, leading to the growth of mold in your ductwork (especially if you live in a humid climate). You may spot mold around your vent covers, but mold in your air ducts is difficult to detect visually. While mold can be difficult to see, it usually presents itself in the form of a musty odor.

If you do have mold in your air ducts, it’s important to take action quickly to preserve your home’s indoor air quality. An air duct cleaning technician will be able to identify and remediate any mold issues, and also help to prevent its return. Additional precautions against excess moisture in your home include installing a whole-home dehumidifier or optimizing settings on your thermostat. Keep in mind that mold growth will recur if the conditions causing it are not corrected. 

2) Dust

Is your home dusty, no matter how often you clean? You may notice that flat surfaces in your home are coated with dust almost immediately after you’ve put away your cleaning supplies. If so, you probably need to have your air ducts cleaned!

Even the cleanest homes can have dirt, dust, pet dander, and all sorts of harmful contaminants lingering in the air ducts. Do you notice dust coming out of the vents every time the HVAC system kicks on? Take a look at the air supply and return vents around your house. Are they visibly dirty or dusty? If so, carefully remove a vent cover and look into the ductwork. Is the metal covered in dust? If you see dust and dirt inside and outside — especially by the vents that blow cool air out — your ducts most likely need to be cleaned. To prevent future dust buildup, make sure you replace your HVAC system air filters frequently. You can also run an air purifier. Filters and air purifiers trap airborne particles like dust, tobacco smoke, and bacteria before they enter the ductwork.

3) Rodents or Insects in Air Ducts

From time to time, mice, squirrels, and insects can make their way into your air ducts. Naturally, these vermin leave behind all sorts of bacteria. When rodents find their way into your ductwork, they make nests and leave droppings behind, sending tiny fecal spores sweeping along the ducts. These spores can then make their way into your home and contaminate the quality of the air you breathe. 

Unfortunately, rodents like to take up residence in ductwork, and will chew their way in, or find some sort of unsealed access. Duct work then becomes a personal highway for rodents to make their way all around your home. Keep in mind that a rodent infestation might require more than air duct cleaning! If you ignore the issue, it could lead to serious structural damage, an inefficient HVAC system and higher energy bills.

4) Your Home was Just Built or has Undergone a Major Renovation

Construction is messy. Even when contractors are diligent about cleaning up and closing off work areas to keep the rest of the site tidy, dust and debris will always find its way in.Construction and remodeling dust can contain some pretty nasty particulate matter that you really don’t want to breathe. Get this issue remedied quickly before respiratory problems develop.

5) Rising Energy Costs

Your heating and cooling costs should be relatively predictable from year to year. If you receive a bill that is noticeably high, especially compared to the same time a year ago, dirty ductwork might be to blame.

At times, ductwork can become so dirty that air isn’t able to flow freely and efficiently through your home’s HVAC system. When this happens, both your furnace and air conditioner are forced to work harder to maintain a comfortable temperature. This added energy expenditure means higher utility bills for you and your family.

You also may notice that a bathroom, bedroom, or other room in your home doesn’t receive the same level of airflow as other rooms. In most cases, vents that are fully open should deliver relatively consistent airflow from room to room. Inconsistency could be the result of dirty air ducts. Worth noting, it isn’t always the accumulation of debris in your air ducts that causes your system to have to work harder. Any leaks you have in your ductwork is lost energy, decreasing the efficiency and increasing your energy bill. Hiring an air duct technician to clean your ducts won’t only remove harmful contaminants, but can also rule out potential leaks. 

Need Air Duct Cleaning? Hire a Professional!

Cleaning your home’s air ducts isn’t something you should attempt on your own. It’s a complex process that requires advanced knowledge of HVAC systems, as well as specialized tools. Professional air duct cleaners use commercial-grade vacuum systems and powered brushes to loosen and remove dirt and debris from your home’s HVAC system. Air duct cleaning professionals are also trained to spot other problems in an HVAC system that the average homeowner may not know to look for.

Like many other trades in the home improvement industry, air duct cleaning is subject to scams. Be wary of air duct cleaning companies that offer unusually low rates or promise a super-quick service. Trust your instincts — if an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

When you’re ready to tackle those air ducts, call K-tech Kleening to ensure the job is done right. 

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