Is Air Duct Cleaning Really Necessary? (Expert Advice)

April 22, 2022

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When was the last time you scheduled air duct cleaning for your home? If you’re not sure, or know they’ve never had a good cleaning, now is the time to call! Air ducts often hold thick dust, lint, cobwebs, and other such debris. Consequently, you breathe in those unpleasant irritants every time you switch on the AC or furnace.

There are many other reasons to consider regular air duct cleaning for your home and commercial structure. Before you go another month or, worse yet, full year without needed cleaning, check out some of those reasons here. You can then discuss the condition of your home’s ducts and vents with an HVAC contractor as needed.

Does Cleaning Air Ducts Really Make a Difference?

Air duct cleaning doesn’t necessarily reduce dust and debris in your home significantly or treat any specific health concerns. However, dirty HVAC motors, coils, and other moving parts keep that appliance from running efficiently. In turn, it’s good to consider regular ductwork cleaning to reduce wear and tear on your property’s HVAC system.

A contractor performing air duct cleaning

While a home’s ductwork might not get so dirty that it becomes unhealthy, it does need cleaning on occasion. For example, consider ductwork cleaning for any of the following:

  • If you’ve finished a home renovation project, note that construction dust usually ends up in those ducts! In turn, you might notice it settling onto carpets and furniture long after project completion. Full-scale ductwork cleaning can help prevent this issue.
  • Don’t overlook mold growth inside ductwork. Mold is typically dangerous to your health and creates very unpleasant odors. Additionally, it can spread to nearby wood framing and drywall. Consequently, ensure thorough cleaning if you notice mold growth in the home’s ductwork or HVAC appliances.
  • Pest infestation can spread to a home’s ductwork and those pests might leave behind fur, dander, and droppings. If you’ve had the home treated for an infestation, have the ducts cleaned as well.
  • Someone with breathing disorders might be overly sensitive to dust and other allergens building up in those ducts. In turn, have ducts cleaned regularly if anyone in the home suffers with asthma, allergies, and so on. Cleaning is not a cure for these conditions but might reduce the risk of triggers and attacks.

Why Are My Air Vents So Dirty?

If your home’s air vents are overly dirty, there might be several culprits. Note a few of those here so you know what to expect from an HVAC contractor:

  • Rodents often tear up insulation to nest inside. Consequently, bits of fiberglass and other materials might end up in your home’s ductwork. This is especially common for insulated ductwork.
  • Cracked ducts often allow dust and other debris to settle along their interior. Not only are ducts then dirty but they’re also leaking air! In turn, your utility bills might spike as your HVAC system stays on, trying to heat or cool interior rooms.
  • When a home is overly humid, dust and dirt trapped on airborne water droplets end up sticking to ductwork!
  • Clogged furnace filters allow for more dirt and dust to end up in a home’s ductwork. Additionally, not cleaning the furnace and AC can mean excess dust and debris inside that ductwork.

A contractor preparing vents for air duct cleaning.

What Happens If You Don’t Clean Air Vents?

As with any surface or building material, not cleaning air vents allows dirt and debris to accumulate over time! An HVAC system needs to work harder to push air through all that dust and dirt. In turn, dirty ductwork often means added wear and tear on an AC and furnace in the home. Your system might fail sooner than it should, and you might face hefty utility costs.

Additionally, excess moisture and dampness might encourage mold growth and corrosion. That mold can soon spread to wood framing, drywall, and other materials. Mold spores might also become airborne, risking unpleasant smells and various health concerns.

Also, note that air duct cleaning might alert you to needed repairs. For instance, an HVAC contractor might notice cracks and leaks while cleaning those ducts. Consequently, you can repair or replace those ducts as needed and avoid otherwise unnecessary repair bills.

How Often Should Air Ducts In a House Be Cleaned?

Many HVAC contractors suggest cleaning air ducts every 3 to 5 years. However, an inspection can tell you if your home’s ducts are excessively dirty, or don’t need cleaning. Additionally, it’s vital that you schedule cleaning if you notice mold or excessive dust along HVAC appliances. Extremely dirty vents and registers can also signal needed ductwork cleaning!

Also, consider your general area and if your home is often dirty and dusty. Busy roadways, marinas, airports, and production facilities can mean increased airborne dust. That debris can then end up in your home’s ductwork. In turn, you’ll want to schedule more frequent cleaning if your home is in such a dusty, dirty area.

Can I Clean My Ducts Myself?

A homeowner can perform light ductwork cleaning themselves. First, remove vents and registers from walls and floors. Second, give those pieces a thorough cleaning with a damp rag or sponge. Next, use a vacuum hose inserted into those exposed openings and vacuum as much debris as you can. You can also slide a damp mop into the ducts and “mop” as much of them as you can reach.

Lastly, clean the inside of the furnace and air conditioner condenser, and change the filter. It’s also helpful to change your vacuum cleaner filter and thoroughly vacuum the home. This simple step will help keep dust and debris out of those clean vents.

Additionally, if you’re worried about overly dirty vents, invest in a whole house air purifier. An air cleaning system helps trap and lock dirt and dust before it reaches those vents. Room air cleaners also help keep ductwork clean while reducing airborne debris.

Red Star Cooling & Heating is happy to offer this information about needed air duct cleaning to our readers. Hopefully you found this article helpful! If you’re in need of HVAC services, call our The Woodlands air conditioning repair contractors. We offer expert fixes guaranteed in writing! For more information, contact us today.


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