How Often Should You Clean Residential Air Ducts?
Even when you deactivate your cooling and heating system periodically, the air ducts will still collect allergens, dander and dust, along with mold spores that could compromise the safety of the home and everyone that resides in it. Below is a description of how frequently the ducts should be cleaned, and the best way to do it.
Factors That Determine When Ducts Should Be Cleaned
Most experts recommend having your residential ducts professionally cleaned every two or three years. However, there are circumstances which may increase or decrease the frequency. Examples include residing with someone who is at greater risk of becoming sick due to any particles or allergens that may be emitted from air conditioners or furnaces, such as toddlers, infants, seniors, or anyone who is known to suffer from asthma.
If you have pets, this means extra fur and dander will be present in the building and ducts. In this case the ductwork should be cleaned more frequently than two years, since otherwise the dander/fur might leave a permanent pet smell that will adversely affect those who are allergic. If you live near a dirt road, especially one which receives frequent traffic, the dust and soot from vehicle tailpipes could gradually enter the building over time.
Buildings that have elevated moisture levels, and which require dehumidifiers are also at a higher risk of growing mold spores within the ductwork. Mold that spreads throughout the building can become especially hazardous since everyone living there will be breathe it in, along with visitors.
How Ductwork Cleaning Works
Ductwork can be cleaned in multiple ways and each contractor has their own preferred method. A good team will be transparent regarding the process they use and will explain to you what will be done and why. They will start by inspecting your ducts to determine how dirty they are and whether or not special tools will be needed. They will also check for mold as well as asbestos.
They will put covers on your carpets and furnishings before starting the cleaning to make sure they aren’t exposed. The ducts will then be vacuumed, and the interior will be brushed to ensure all the debris and dust is dislodged. If nesting birds or other pests are found, they will be removed. If duct insulation is discovered which is too damp, they will recommend replacing it, to stop the development of mold. All of the ductwork will then be insulated and sealed as needed.
Although ductwork isn’t technically an HVAC system component, it serves a very important purpose. It is responsible for the filtration and distribution of air around your home. It is easy to ignore, which many residents do, until they have a problem. The best way to prepare the ducts for cleaning is to ensure there is always clear and unobstructed space near the HVAC and registers. This will make it easier for technicians to insert the extended flexible brushes that are used for cleaning.