You probably know that taking excellent care of your HVAC system is a necessary part of ensuring that it always provides you with efficient performance, but how often do you invest in professional help for important tasks such as air duct cleaning? Although many HVAC owners write off air duct cleaning as supposedly less important than other parts of routine maintenance, it’s actually a very valuable (and necessary) part of keeping your system in optimal condition. Learning more about air duct cleaning and when to arrange for it can help you keep your running costs down and provide you with a system that always delivers.
What are the Risks of Not Arranging for Air Duct Cleaning?
When you don’t participate in air duct cleaning on a regular basis, your air conditioner or furnace system may develop many problems. Air ducts are responsible for carrying treated air from place to place in your home, which means that they must be kept clear at all times. If they are not, foreign matter can enter the ducts and affect the quality of the air moving through them. If left alone for long enough, this matter can congeal into major blockages that stop air from moving through your system smoothly and can even back it up entirely.
Airflow problems are at the root of many larger HVAC issues. The following list (though by no means exhaustive) shows some of the things that can go wrong when the airflow in your HVAC system suffers:
- Strange smells: have you ever started up your HVAC only to discover that the air coming from your ducts smells a little less than fresh? You’re not alone. Remember, the air can only smell as good as whatever is on the inside of your ducts. That means while clean ducts tend to smell fresh, dirty ones can produce all kinds of strange or unpleasant odors.
- Poor air quality: the smell of your air isn’t the only thing you should consider. Have you ever been in a room where the air was too stuffy, or where you felt that breathing was becoming difficult? These symptoms may occur as the result of an HVAC system with airflow problems.
- No air coming from the ducts at all: if your system is running, but you cannot feel treated air coming from the vents in your home, there’s a very good chance something has blocked the ducts and is preventing air from moving through the passage. Cranking up your thermostat (or cranking it down) will do nothing to solve this problem. It will only waste more of your money as you pay to use a system that can no longer provide you with benefits.
- Important components wearing out prematurely: when air cannot travel through the ducts and into your home, your thermostat will fail to register a temperature change. As a result, your HVAC will have no way of knowing when it has worked hard enough to change the temperature in your space… and so it will keep working. All that work can wear out important parts such as your compressor much faster than necessary, which means you’ll most likely find yourself having to budget for emergency repairs sooner than you thought.
Any of the problems listed above can be disastrous for an otherwise responsible (not to mention frugal) HVAC owner. You don’t want to be paying for constant repairs, spending money to operate a system that doesn’t work properly, struggling to breathe, or battling overpowering odors. You want to be enjoying fresh, clean, temperature-controlled air for reasonable running costs—don’t you?
That’s why air duct cleaning is so important. The question is: when should you have your ducts cleaned, and who should you trust with the work?
When to Clean Your Ducts, and How to Choose Your Cleaners
For best results, most homeowners throughout the continental United States should arrange for duct cleaning every 2-5 years. Certain factors can affect the exact frequency with which you should clean your ducts, including the size, location, and elevation of your home. Find a contractor in your area and ask them to tell you how often your ducts should be cleaned. Hiring a licensed contractor to perform the work is essential also since licensed professionals have demonstrated that they have the skills and experience necessary to do this work quickly and thoroughly.
Air duct cleaning is an integral part of maintaining a healthy and cost-effective HVAC system, so it should never be taken lightly. Always make sure that you are keeping track of the last time your ducts were cleaned, and that you have trustworthy professionals on call for times when you need their help with duct cleaning. Doing so will help you experience better performance from your HVAC and allow you to breathe easier as you use it.