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Why You Should Clean Your Air Ducts

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When was the last time you cleaned your air ducts? If you can’t remember, then it’s probably been too long. The air ducts in your home are one of the most neglected parts, yet they play a crucial role in your home’s ventilation.

Your air ducts, or HVAC ductwork are the tubes that carry heated or cooled air throughout your home. Over time, these ducts can become clogged with dust, dirt, and other debris. 

This spring is the perfect time to give them a good cleaning. Here’s why.

Is Duct Cleaning Worth It?

Not only does cleaning your air ducts improve air quality in your home, but it can also increase the efficiency of your HVAC system.

Over time, ductwork can become clogged and restrict the air flow in your home. The longer you go without cleaning your ducts, the more likely it is that dust has accumulated, vermin may have gotten in, or mold has begun to grow.

If you’re wondering if air duct cleaning is worth it, here is what you risk by not cleaning them.

How Dirty Can Ductwork Possibly Get?

Winter may bring the cold and flu, but it also may bring bugs and rodents into your ductwork in search of warmth. If these pests die in your ducts, their carcasses can contaminate the air in your home. 

Springtime brings pollen that can accumulate in your ductwork and cause allergy flare-ups.

And over time, dust can accumulate in your ductwork. A dirty air duct is the perfect environment for mold to grow and spread throughout your home, which can cause serious respiratory problems.

Benefits of Cleaning Your Air Ducts

There are many benefits to cleaning your air ducts, from improved HVAC performance to potential health benefits. You can increase the longevity of your ductwork, improve your home’s air quality, and reduce the risk of health problems by regularly cleaning your ductwork.

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Improve Indoor Air Quality

A clean air duct allows your HVAC system to work more efficiently by circulating clean air throughout your home. This can improve your indoor air quality and help to reduce allergens, dust, and other potential pollutants. 

A dirty air duct can also lead to a musty smell in your home. Cleaning your air duct will help to eliminate these unwanted irritants and odors, thus improving the air quality in your home.

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Reduce Air Pollutants

Cleaning your air ducts will reduce the recirculation of airborne pollutants. Pet dander, mold, pollen, dust mites, and other allergens can all cause respiratory problems. 

If you or the individuals living in your home suffer from allergies, asthma, or other respiratory conditions, it is especially important to keep your ductwork clean.

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Combat Mold

Air ducts are a common place for mold and mildew growth, especially in homes and rooms with high humidity levels. Mold spores can enter your ductwork through open doors, windows, and vents. Once inside, the spores can grow and spread throughout your house, causing health problems. Regular duct cleaning can help to prevent mold growth and protect your family’s health.

Help Your HVAC System Last Longer

Clean air ducts improve air flow efficiency. Dirty air ducts can cause your HVAC system to work harder to circulate air, which can lead to increased wear and tear on your system. This can shorten the lifespan of your HVAC system and lead to costly repairs. 

If you’re concerned about air duct cleaning costs, consider how much you can save in the long term by maintaining your ductwork and HVAC system.

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Keep Your House Safe

Accumulated dust and debris can be a fire hazard. If your ductwork is full of dust and debris, it can act as a fuel source for a fire. If you have not had your ductwork cleaned in a while, it is important to do so to reduce the risk of fire in your home.

How Duct Cleaning Works

Cleaning your air ducts involves more than just using a standard vacuum. The ductwork must be thoroughly cleaned to remove all the dirt, dust, and debris that has gathered over time. 

Typically, duct cleaning involves an inspection of the air duct system to determine the best way to clean it. The ductwork is then cleaned using a high-powered vacuum and brushes. Brushes are used to agitate the ductwork and loosen the dirt and debris so that they can be removed by the vacuum. This process is usually done from both the inside and outside of the ductwork. Once the ductwork is clean, it is sealed to prevent future contamination.

How Do I Know if My Air Ducts Need to Be Cleaned?

You’ll know it’s time to clean your air ducts when:

  • They have not been cleaned in 3-5 years
  • You are getting allergies
  • Your allergies have increased
  • You see signs of pests
  • Your ductwork is visibly moldy, dusty, or dirty
  • You notice a musty smell

If any of these apply to you, it’s time to give an HVAC professional a call.

How Do I Know if My Air Duct Cleaner Did a Good Job?

There are several things you can look for to make sure your ductwork was cleaned properly:

  • Make sure your service provider uses a Post-Cleaning Consumer Checklist.
  • After the duct cleaner is done, have them show you each component of the ductwork to ensure it’s clean.
  • The ductwork should be free of visible dust and debris. Some companies may use remote photography to show you the results.
  • There should be no musty smells coming from the ductwork.

What Happens if You Never Clean Your Ductwork?

If you never clean your ductwork, the dirt, dust, and debris will continue to build. This can lead to several potential problems, including:

  • Reduced air flow
  • Increased wear and tear on your HVAC system
  • Growth of mold and mildew
  • Dust and debris can be a fire hazard
  • Poor air quality

How Often Should You Clean Your Air Ducts?

Cleaning your ductwork is an important part of maintaining a healthy home. Generally, you should clean your air ducts every 3 to 5 years. 

However, this also depends on where you live and if you have individuals with respiratory problems living in your house. Then, you might want to consider more frequent duct cleaning. You should also clean the ducts after moving into a new home or after a major renovation.

How Much Does it Cost to Clean Air Ducts?

Air duct cleaning costs from an air duct cleaning service will vary depending on your ductwork and your location. Generally, duct cleaning costs between $500 and $1000.

The factors involved in your air duct cleaning costs include:

  • The size of your ductwork
  • The condition of your ductwork
  • The type of ductwork you have
  • The number of vents
  • Level of contamination
  • Household factors
  • Climate

A thorough cleaning of your air ducts can be an investment in your health and the longevity of your HVAC unit.

Professional Air Duct Cleaning For Portland Residents

Spring is the best time to get your ductwork cleaned so that you can enjoy clean air all season long. Cleaning your ductwork is a big job, and it’s one that you should leave to an HVAC expert. Save yourself the stress of trying to tackle duct cleaning on your own by calling in a professional. At Jacobs Heating & Air Conditioning, we have the experience and the tools to get your ductwork clean and keep it that way.

If you’re a Portland resident, contact us today to schedule an appointment.

About the Author

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Amanda Jacobs, Internal Project Manager

Amanda Jacobs is an Internal Projects Manager and 3rd generation member of Jacobs Heating & Air Conditioning. She received her MBA from Seattle University and has worked for a leading HVAC training and consulting firm. When not talking HVAC on the Jacobs Blog, you can find her on the golf course or whipping up her famous vegan chili.