Clean Your Air Ducts

How Often Should You Clean Your Air Ducts?

Air ducts are conveyors of air and everything else floating around in your abode. If unattended, air ducts can become a breeding ground for all kinds of bacteria and contaminants over time – due to the buildup of dirt and debris. This may, in turn, put your health at risk and reduce the efficiency of your heating and cooling system.

Willard Power Vac’s history in the HVAC cleaning business dates back to 1975, making the firm a household name. Thus, if you need well-equipped duct cleaning experts in Portland, OR, you know who to call. But let’s backtrack for a second: how often should you clean your air ducts?

Experts argue that you need to do so every two to three years. However, the Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) offers a contrary opinion: according to the agency, you should clean them as needed. The National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) echoes the EPA’s recommendations.

What does an as-needed basis mean? Well, a quick look at the air ducts can provide visual cues that cleaning is necessary. Let’s address the various signs in detail below:

1. Mold Growth

Take a peek at the ducts from time to time. A thorough cleaning should be on your to-do list if you spot mold and mildew. Mold can be hazardous to your health, which explains the need for prompt action. Don’t let it linger, as the situation is likely to worsen.

The presence of mold means there’s moisture in your ductwork. Thus, you need to determine the origin of the moisture and fix it. By dealing with the root cause, you can prevent the problem from recurring.

2. Rodents

Various critters like to crash in warm and dark places. And your air ducts provide the perfect habitat – they also serve as conduits or superhighways, giving them access to other parts of your home.

Take mice, for instance. They can gnaw through the ducts and spread droppings, thereby contaminating your home. Then, they may sneak into your attic, create a cozy nest, and reproduce. And in the blink of an eye, you have a full-fledged infestation. You probably know the havoc these vermin can wreak, so before matters get out of hand, call a professional to inspect and clean the air ducts.

While at it, investigate the building envelope for entry points and plug them for good. For instance, sealing holes with steel wool and caulking can keep these unwanted guests from turning your home into their five-star hotel.

3. Buildup of Dust and Debris

All of a sudden, you notice your home is unusually dusty, and no amount of cleaning seems to put a halt to it. Your air ducts could be to blame. As we mentioned, they accumulate lots of dirt over time, making it difficult for air to pass through.

That said, inspect your ductwork for dirt and grime at least annually. Chances are, you need to get them in order. After all, dusty vents indicate airflow issues and result in inefficient energy use. Similarly, pet dander, debris, and cobwebs can build up and block the airflow.

4. Unusual Sounds

We wouldn’t advise you to take a hammer and chisel, but a quick check is in order. Are the ducts rattling? Do you hear squeaks and squeals? If so, the ducts need some TLC –  cleaning, and possibly repair.

Have a professional check for loose screws, worn-out joints, and other issues that may lead to poor air circulation. Besides, the gaps may allow debris into the ductwork and air to escape, leading to higher energy bills. And yes, we can’t rule out the presence of rodents, either.

5. Worsening Allergies

You might wonder, “why is my child sneezing more often?” Well, the answer could be in your air ducts. Dust and other allergens can easily get lodged in them, making the air in your home unhealthy.

If some of your family members are susceptible to allergies, their respiratory health may take a turn for the worse. The same will be the case if mold spores, rodent droppings, and pollen find their way into your air ducts. To avert a health crisis in your household, get the ducts cleaned.

6. Poor Air Quality

Does your home smell like a musty basement? Do your guests (the candid ones) comment on the stale air? A sharp-nosed guest can detect a bad odor from miles away. The truth is, smelly air is a sign of inadequate air circulation and the need for duct cleaning.

Plus, the poor airflow may extend to other areas of your home, making it harder to maintain a comfortable temperature. The cause? Blocked vents and dirty air ducts – making your HVAC system less efficient and more expensive to run.

I hope you get the idea: clean the air ducts to maintain a healthy indoor atmosphere. Should you do it every two years or as needed? We’ll let you decide. But remember, prevention is better than cure – as duct cleaning keeps your family safe in the long run. So, contact your go-to experts – they can help you get on top of things in no time.