Updated July 2023
Air ducts are commonly ignored in regards to household upkeep, but keeping them clean and healthy makes a massive difference in both air quality and the overall health of your HVAC appliances. Ideally, you should schedule a professional cleaning of your ductwork every three to five years. However, there are several variables that can affect this, so you should also know the indicators that your ducts have become dirty or clogged.
What Role Do Air Ducts Play?
Air ducts play an important role in both heating and cooling. Their primary purpose is being the pathway that your heating and air conditioning systems use to circulate hot and cold air through the home. Beyond that, all of the air within your household is being regularly moved through these ducts every day. Because they’re such an integral part of your household’s ability to function, a number of issues relating to finances, comfort, and health can be avoided by having them cleaned and inspected.
1. Appliance Health and Performance
When your heater or air conditioner doesn’t have an open route to circulate air, it forces the system to compensate by pushing air through with increased effort and pressure. This puts extra wear and tear on the appliance and makes breakdowns more likely. Over time, things like dust, dirt, mold, and random debris can build up inside your ducts and obstruct the pathway of your HVAC appliances. Having your ductwork cleaned regularly can help these heating and cooling systems have longer, healthier lifespans.
Dirty or clogged ducts will also weaken the effectiveness of said heating and cooling appliances. If you notice that your home’s heating and/or air conditioning has inexplicably become less reliable, it may be an indicator that your ductwork needs professional attention.
2. Healthier Breathing
One problem with letting contaminants build up in your ducts is that it will end up in the air you’re breathing. Whether it be dust, dirt, pet dander, or any other contaminants, these things will inevitably be picked up when hot and cold air are circulated by your HVAC appliances. This can cause you and members of your household to experience sneezing, coughing, congestion, and certain respiratory problems. This makes duct cleaning even more imperative for anyone with a history of allergies or breathing issues.
In addition to those irritants, neglected ducts can also harbor more harmful particles, such as mold, mildew, and other hazardous microorganisms. Having your ductwork cleaned will result in far healthier oxygen for your home, and it’s especially important if you’ve noticed any of the physical symptoms associated with poor air quality.
3. Removing Unpleasant Odors
Over time, many of the smells from day-to-day life will make their way into your ducts. Some examples of this are pet smells, cleaning products, paint fumes, tobacco, and cooking scents. While some of these odors aren’t so bad at first, the smell can transform into something much more bothersome when combined with other scents and allowed to linger. Plus, every time air circulates through your ducts, it’s going to be picking up these odors and distributing them around your home. In addition to removing dust and debris, a professional duct cleaning will also eradicate these accumulated odors, which will give your home a more pleasant scent.
4. Uncovering Ductwork Problems
When a ductwork expert visits your home for a cleaning, they’ll also be able to conduct a thorough inspection while they work. If there are any leaks or damaged ducts, they should be able to find them. When your ducts are damaged, it can cause even more problems than when they’re dirty or clogged.
For one, leaking ductwork allows much of the hot and cold air being circulated to seep out. In addition to affecting your comfort, this results in your heater or air conditioner having to work harder to make up for what was lost. Damaged ducts also make it more likely that fungi like mold and mildew will be able to flourish. These organisms thrive on moisture, and a leak or crack in your ductwork is an opening for moisture to enter.
Additionally, unhealthy ducts are more likely to experience significant condensation, which also greatly increases the chances of mold or mildew growth. In many cases, homeowners will have no idea that their ductwork is leaking or damaged until they schedule a cleaning.
5. Having a Cleaner Home
In addition to infiltrating the air you breathe, dust and debris that goes unchecked in your ducts will also end up covering the surfaces of your household. In worst case scenarios, you can end up having your bed, pillows, carpets, and tables all covered with a layer of dust and dirt. It’s inevitable that some of these irritants will be picked up from your ducts, but investing in cleaning will minimize it significantly and make your home both cleaner and more hygienic.
6. Saving You Money in the Long Run
In some ways, having your ducts clean is an investment that will more than pay for itself. When your heating and cooling appliances have to work harder to overcome clogged and dirty ductwork, it isn’t just bad for their health. It also forces them to use up more energy to do their jobs effectively, and it increases the chance that you’ll need to pay for costly repairs or even new appliances down the road. If you’ve noticed that your home’s monthly heating or cooling bills have started to rise, neglected ducts could be one possible explanation.
Red Flags to Look For
Although the average recommended timeframe for duct cleaning is three to five years, that doesn’t mean you should never bother doing it sooner. If all signs point to your ductwork being healthy, once every few years is adequate, but you should always be attentive to what your household is telling you. Any of the following indicators could mean that it’s time to schedule a professional cleaning sooner rather than later.
- Dirty or clogged indoor vents
- Monthly energy bills rising
- Unpleasant household odors
- Excessive dust
- Ineffective heating and/or cooling
Your Local HVAC Professionals
At Environmental Heating & Air Solutions, we’ve been a trusted provider of household services in the Roseville, CA, area since 2010. Our technicians are trained to provide top-level service, and we prioritize empathy with every single customer relationship. Our skilled team is always available to handle your heating, cooling, plumbing, ventilation, and indoor air quality needs. We understand that your home is your greatest investment, and we want to help ensure that your property is as clean, healthy, and comfortable as possible for you and your family. We also believe in protecting our planet, which is why we participate in the Replant California initiative to rebuild our natural forests and restore communities.
We want you to experience our superior service, professionalism, and quality service. Contact us at Environmental Heating & Air Solutions today to schedule an appointment with a skilled member of our team.