Many people tend to forget about their air ducts, and this is understandable. Apart from exposed ducts in the attic, basement, or crawl spaces, most of the ductwork is hidden. But, we rely on the air ducts to distribute warm and cool air to every room in the home. If the airflow is diminished at the vents and indoor air quality (IAQ) is poor, the problem could lie in the ducts. The only way to clean the air ducts is to hire a professional HVAC company. It is possible to vacuum the supply and return vents, but deep cleaning into the ductwork is not possible. In this article, we will look at five signs that your air ducts need professional cleaning.

1.  Excessive Volumes of Dust

If you’re diligent with your vacuuming and cleaning, yet you can’t seem to remove all the dust, you may have dirty air ducts. Some people finish cleaning, and almost immediately they notice a thin layer of dust on flat surfaces in their home. This is disheartening, dusting is a repetitive task anyway, but if you can’t keep your home clean, it is frustrating.

Even homes that are exceptionally clean have some airborne particulates circulating around the home. Some common pollutants include dust, dirt, mold spores, pet dander, dust mites, and more. In extreme cases, it’s even possible to see dust and debris coming from the vents when the HVAC system is running. Check the air supply and return vents to see if they are dirty or dusty, and the metal covers may be dusty. At this point, it’s clear that the air ducts need to be cleaned professionally to make the home cleaner.

Many people are surprised after professional air duct cleaning and the home tends to stay cleaner for longer. The accumulation of dust in the ducts can be minimized if you change the air filter regularly. This will also prevent bacteria, dust, tobacco smoke, and other contaminants from entering the air ducts.

2.  Mold Growth

The HVAC system acts as a dehumidifier as it operates, and this removes a certain volume of moisture from the home. But, this condensation can pool in the air ducts, and it’s the ideal growth medium for mold. This can be obvious if the mold is growing on the vents, or it may be more subtle, and the airborne mold spores will be degrading the IAQ. The first people to notice these problems will be people with asthma, allergies, and pre-existing breathing conditions. Mold growth is often accompanied by a stale, musty odor that seems to permeate the entire home. So, you may know that there is mold present, but you cannot see any visual signs.

If there is mold in the air ducts, it’s important to take quick action to restore the IAQ and prevent damage to your home. Hiring an HVAC professional to remediate the mold issues and clean the air ducts is the only reliable solution. They can identify the source of the problem and offer advice on how to guard against excess moisture. There are two common approaches, adding a whole-home dehumidifier or optimizing the thermostat can help. It’s important to understand that the underlying conditions that caused the mold growth must be dealt with, or the problem will return in the future.

3.  Insects and Rodents Intrusions

When the air ducts are in poor shape, they can be easy to enter, and vermin may make a home there. These critters will be a source of bacteria, and their fecal spores can be distributed through the home as airborne contaminants. This will lower the IAQ, and it may trigger an allergic reaction in vulnerable people. Rodents tend to chew ductwork material, and they use the ducts as a highway to move through the home. You may notice bad odors, dropping, chewed areas, and other signs of rodent infestation. If this problem is ignored, it can lead to structural damage and a loss of energy efficiency.

4.  Major Renovation Fallout

All construction work creates a mess, the contractors may clean the area and isolate where they work, but dust and debris always spread through the home. Even if the HVAC system is turned off, this debris will often find its way into the air ducts later. Construction dust contains particulates that you don’t want to breathe, and these materials need to be removed to restore the IAQ.

5.  Higher Energy Bills

The price of energy has risen in recent years, but it should be predictable from one year to the next. If you get an energy bill that is very high compared to the same time last year, the dirty air ducts may be a contributing factor. When air ducts are very dirty, they prevent the airflow that heating and cooling equipment needs to run efficiently. These systems will work harder to meet your temperature needs, and this consumes more energy. Another problem is that overworked components tend to fail more often, and this can lead to an unexpected repair bill. The HVAC technician can check the ducts for air leaks, clean them and inspect other parts of the system to find the source of the problem.

Hire a Professional to Clean Your Air Ducts

Throughout this article, we have mentioned that a professional HVAC technician should be hired to inspect and clean the air ducts. A DIY approach or hiring a “handyman” for this task may seem like a good idea to “save money,” but this is a bad idea. It is true that you can vacuum the vents, supply and return registers, and clean or replace the air filter. These are all helpful HVAC maintenance tasks that anyone with some basic DIY skills can perform. But, most homeowners will not have the skills, training, knowledge, and specialized equipment to clean deeper into the ductwork. During this process, the HVAC technician can check the general health of the air ducts to ensure that they’re in good shape.

If you want to schedule some air duct cleaning for your home, contact your local heating and cooling specialist today.