If you’re looking for a way to improve your home’s indoor air quality and the efficiency of your HVAC system, professional air duct cleaning may be your answer. Over time, dust, pollen, pet dander and other allergens can build up inside your ducts and are released through your vents into your indoor air. This can exacerbate respiratory conditions for anyone in your household with allergies, asthma or other respiratory problems.
Although air duct cleaning has not been shown conclusively to prevent health problems for those in good health, the Environmental Protection Agency notes there are very good reasons to have your home’s air ducts professionally cleaned every five to seven years.
Aside from potential indoor air quality benefits, clearing your air ducts and other system components may improve the efficiency of your HVAC system. A clogged system often uses more energy to heat and cool your home.
Five Signs You Need to Contact a Duct Cleaning Professional:
- Visible buildup of dirt, dust and pet hair on the outside of your vents. You may see dust particles blown into the air as your HVAC system cycles on. You may also experience reduced air flow from the vents.
- Mold, or a musty odor, is present on the inside surface of your ducts or on any other components of your HVAC system. In addition to air duct cleaning, you will need to have a professional address the underlying issue causing the mold. Otherwise it will recur.
- There is evidence of rodents or insects inside your duct work.
- Moisture is present in your ducts. Following the cleaning, make sure your ducts are insulated and sealed in non-air-conditioned spaces, such as the attic or crawl space.
- If you’ve recently completed a renovation or remodeling project, there was likely a lot of dust and dirt generated. Much of it could have ended up in your ducts.
The Duct Cleaning Process
Prior to cleaning, the technician should take care to protect carpets and furniture. If your home was built before 1980, they should inspect your duct system to ensure there is no asbestos in the insulation or other parts. If so, the cleaning will require specific procedures performed by a specially trained contractor.
An effective air duct cleaning includes the cleaning of all components of your HVAC system. This includes coils, drain pans, blower motor and air filter. First, the technician will use tools to loosen dirt and debris. Then, he or she will vacuum them out, preventing the contaminants from being released into your indoor air. The technician may need to cut holes in the duct work to access inside components. The holes should be re-insulated and sealed after the cleaning.
Should your technician suggest the use of a chemical biocide following the vacuum cleaning, ask for a full explanation of the reasons for the recommendation. The product should be EPA-approved and used in accordance with the label instructions. Any chemical should only be applied to non-insulated areas in your duct system. BGE HOME uses the chemical-free, HEPA-AIRE method for duct cleaning.
After your air duct cleaning, be sure to perform the recommended preventive maintenance for your HVAC system. This will minimize the buildup of dust, dirt and other potentially harmful particles. Change your HVAC system’s air filters according to the manufacturer’s guidelines and use the highest efficiency filters recommended. Some easy maintenance tips include vacuuming your home regularly, sealing off your supply and return registers if you are having any construction or remodeling work done and getting regular seasonal tune-ups for your HVAC system.
To learn more about how air duct cleaning may improve the air quality in your home, contact BGE HOME to speak to one of our Energy & Comfort Consultants.