duct work

We all love a clean house. But what if yours isn’t quite as clean as you thought?

In the past, we’ve covered some hidden things you need to clean around your home, but here’s one more that you may be forgetting: your ductwork!

Texas is a dusty state, and it’s easy to forget that all the dust that enters your home has to get trapped somewhere and that somewhere is in the ducts of your HVAC system. This system is out of sight and out of mind, so homeowners tend to ignore it until any issues crop up.

But modern heating systems depend on clean ductwork for efficiency, so all that hidden dust can wreak havoc on your home. Here’s how it happens—and what to do about it.

How Dirty Ductwork Affects Your HVAC System

A buildup of household contaminants can greatly decrease the cooling and heating efficiency of your system over time.

An HVAC system is composed of different parts, but it’s most effective when each part is perfectly in tune. When one part is compromised, however, the other internal components may receive added strain, leading to a premature breakdown. In other words, when contaminants gather in your ductwork, it requires the entire system to work harder to keep up.

Dust in your ducts can also lead to added airflow resistance, which can both raise your utility bills and shorten the lifespan of your system.

According to the US Department of Energy, heating makes up about 42 percent of the average utility bill, costing more money than any other system in the home. This is already a significant amount of money without your system struggling to maintain its efficiency!

On the other hand, when your HVAC is free of contaminants, it doesn’t have to work as hard to keep your home at a comfortable temperature—and it costs you less in the long run.

How Dirty Duct Work Affects Your Family’s Health

As you might expect, dirty ducts lower the quality of air in your home, as the dust within the ducts is circulated to the rooms of your house day in and day out. According to the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA), the contaminants in your vents are re-circulated 5 to 7 times per day, on average.

This circulation may not seem like such a hazard, but when you consider that it happens day in and day out, it can be worrying. Dirty air ducts can cause a range of health issues, with most of them affecting the respiratory system:

  • Nasal congestion
  • Allergies
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat
  • Headaches

These issues can be a serious issue if you have family members who are sensitive to air quality changes, such as young children, people with severe allergies or asthma, and the elderly.

Signs Your Ducts Need to Be Cleaned

If you’re wondering whether it’s time to clean out those hidden air ducts, here are a few signs to look out for.

There’s mold in your HVAC system

Since your AC and heater can both develop condensation as they work, it’s easy for humidity to build up and invite mold. If you notice mold on your ducts, it may be a good idea to have them cleaned as a preventative measure.

Your home is always dusty

But if you find yourself struggling to keep your home free of dust, you might need to have your ducts cleaned. One telling sign is frequent dust buildup around your air vents.

Your heating or cooling costs are higher than normal

This one can be tricky, as your utility bills may change for a number of reasons. However, your ductwork might be at least partially to blame, as it drains the cooling and heating efficiency of your system.

Your home has undergone recent construction

Even if you’ve tried to keep your home clean, construction can release dust into the air. Unless you’ve kept your HVAC vents covered the entire time, that dust likely made a home in your ductwork. This can be particularly problematic, as many types of construction dust are hazardous to breathe.

Your air filters get dirty too fast

If dust accumulates on your air filters more quickly than ever, it may be a sign that there’s buildup elsewhere in your system. Keep changing your filters, but be sure to call for an inspection of your ducts.

You (or your family) are having unexplained respiratory problems.

Are you or anyone in your family suffering from frequent respiratory issues like the symptoms mentioned above? If so, it may be a sign that the air quality of your home is to blame.

How Often Should Duct Work Be Cleaned?

NADCA offers homeowners a simple rule of thumb: “if your air ducts look dirty, they probably are.”

If you’re looking for a clearer timeline, most industry professionals will recommend that you check your air ducts once every three to five years. This, of course, depends on the environment of your home: if you have many pets that contribute pet dander, or if you’ve recently done construction, you might want to have your vents inspected and cleaned a little sooner.

Consider a Professional Cleaning

If you’re worried about your cooling and heating efficiency, or if you’ve noticed any of the signs of dirty ducts, it may be time to have a professional clean your ductwork. We’re happy to help! Contact us for more information, and we’ll help keep your home heating and cooling system running smoothly, and your air clean and safe.