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How Can You Tell If Your Ducts Need to Be Cleaned? An FAQ About Duct Cleaning Services

duct system

Duct cleaning is a service that many people know little about. Knowing what duct cleaning is and how it can benefit you can help you take care of your HVAC system. This FAQ is designed to help homeowners decide when it's time to consider professional duct cleaning services for their home.  

What Causes Ducts to Get Dirty?

Ducts get dirty when dusty air circulates through the house. At any given moment, your home's HVAC system may contain dust, pollen, dirt, mold, and mouse droppings. As the system runs, this debris becomes trapped along the walls of the ducts. This layer will build slowly over time. 

How Can You Tell If Your Ducts Need to Be Cleaned?

There are a variety of warning signs that you may notice when your ducts need to be cleaned. Watching out for these warning signs can help you decide when it's time to contact a duct cleaning professional.

Your HVAC System Causes Allergy Symptoms

If you or members of your household experience allergy symptoms when the HVAC system is running, this is an indication that the HVAC system is circulating dust, pollen, and other allergens through the home. 

Your Furnace or Air Conditioner Seems to Smell

If your HVAC system produces a noticeable odor when it runs, especially a moldy-musty smell, this could be the result of mold spores in the ducts. Cleaning the ducts can help you eliminate these odors. 

Your HVAC Air Filter Gets Very Dirty Very Fast

Your home's HVAC filter should be changed every three months or more frequently if it becomes very dirty. If your air filter gets very dirty after only a month of use, this could be a sign that your ducts are in need of cleaning.

If you have concerns about your home's ducts, remove one of the vent covers and look inside with a flashlight. If the inside of the duct is covered with a layer of dirt and grime, this is an indication that your ducts are in need of cleaning. For a more official diagnosis, contact your HVAC repair and duct cleaning company. 

How Often Do Ducts Need to Be Cleaned?

Ducts need to be cleaned when they're having a negative impact on indoor air quality. This can vary from one household to the next, depending on the homeowner's typical HVAC maintenance habits. When your HVAC system starts to display the signs above, contact an HVAC maintenance company. In many households, the ducts need to be cleaned every three to five years.

How Can You Prevent Your Ducts from Getting Dirty?

The best way to prevent your HVAC system from getting dirty is by changing the air filter on a regular basis. Look for the filter in the slot between the return air duct and the blower. Remove the filter and take it to a hardware store to find a replacement. Turn off your HVAC system while there is no air filter in the compartment. When a new air filter has been found and put into its place, you may turn the HVAC system back on. 

You can also prevent your ducts from getting dirty by getting an HVAC system tune up on a regular basis. Your HVAC professional can inspect your ducts for leaks that can also result in dust entering the ducts. Contact your HVAC professional to schedule a tune-up at least once annually. During the tune-up, your HVAC professional will clean the components of the furnace and air conditioner and check the ducts for leaks. 

Contact Your HVAC Professional for More Information About Cleaning Your Home's Ducts

If you have more questions about duct cleaning and how it can benefit your HVAC system, contact your local HVAC repair person. At Parks Davis Air Conditioning & Heating, we're happy to answer homeowner questions about duct cleaning.  


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