When you do your routine daily or weekly house cleaning, you probably don’t clean every little thing in your home. Some areas may remain untouched until it’s time for spring cleaning – and the more hidden away the mess is, the more likely it is to be overlooked.
The insides of your HVAC ducts are a lot like that. They’re out of sight, so they’re probably out of mind, even when other hidden spots come due for their annual cleaning. But just because you can’t see the dirt and dust inside doesn’t mean it isn’t there – or that it isn’t circulating through your home each time the HVAC system turns on.
What to Do With a Dirty Duct
Your ductwork is like your home’s lungs, and along with your HVAC equipment, it completes your home’s respiratory system. And just like your lungs, the health of your ductwork is affected by the quality of the air flowing through it.
Dust and dirt particles are basically everywhere. But your ducts may be picking up much more: pet hair, residue from smoking, airborne allergens or even construction dust from a recent remodel. Many of these particles will flow through the system or get caught in the filter, but some will stick to the duct walls, where they may contaminate the otherwise clean air flowing by.
Fortunately, many HVAC service companies offer professional duct cleaning services that will give you a clean slate. And if you’re not sure whether or not you need duct cleaning, a reputable service provider should be able to provide you with a low-cost inspection and report.
If duct cleaning is warranted and you schedule the service, here are some tasks commonly performed by a duct cleaning professional:
- Brushing and vacuuming of all accessible ductwork
- Cleaning return air chases
- Cleaning blower wheel
- Removal, cleaning and reinstallation of vent grills
- Cleaning evaporator coil
- Disinfectant spray throughout duct system
- Application of antifungal sealant
- Complete cleanup of the job site
What to Expect
If your ducts are truly dirty, there’s a good chance that a professional cleaning will make your entire home smell fresher. Some contaminants, like smoking residue, can produce a foul odor that may circulate through your home for years. When you purchase a home from a previous owner who smoked indoors, it’s smart to schedule duct cleaning before you move in.
Duct cleaning can also clear out accumulated allergens and irritants, so it’s particularly important maintenance in households where one or more people suffer from asthma or severe allergies. Pet hair, pollen and other problem particles can all be swept away in a few hours, bringing serious relief to residents and guests.
A Step Further
If indoor air quality is important to you, there are additional steps you can take to keep your ducts cleaner and the air fresher after your professional cleaning is complete.
Consider exploring your options for UV systems that use special lights to reduce the concentration of germs, bacteria, viruses, toxic gases and even common odors from your indoor air. Better yet, ask your HVAC technician about systems that combine UV technology with sophisticated air filtration systems so that you get all of those air purifying benefits plus a huge reduction in the concentration of airborne particles in your air. These supplemental systems can catch particles that are microscopic -- particles that are most likely slipping right through your HVAC filter.
If you think your ductwork might be a candidate for cleaning and you’re ready to learn more, reach out to the home comfort professionals at your local One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning.