Your home’s ductwork is an essential part of your HVAC system and, just like all other parts, requires regular maintenance to ensure the system functions properly. Duct cleaning is one of the best things you can do for both the air quality inside your home and the health of your heating and cooling equipment, but most people know little if anything about what the process is and how it works. With this in mind, here are the signs that can indicate you need to have your ducts cleaned and also how the process works.
Your Home Is Especially Dusty or Your Vents Are Overly Dirty
If you notice that your home is getting dustier than usual during the summer or winter when your HVAC system runs more often, this is a good indicator that you need to have your ducts cleaned. When your ducts get overly dirty, some of that dust and debris inside them will be blown out of the vents every time your HVAC system runs. A lot of that dust can also collect on and around the covers of all of your supply vents, which makes this another thing you should watch out for.
In some cases, these issues can be caused by dirt and dust collecting inside the vents. For this reason, you should make sure to periodically vacuum the vents and the covers. If the excess dust returns fairly quickly after doing so, this is a telltale sign that the problem is being caused by excess dust and dirt inside the ducts themselves.
Cockroaches and other pests can often make their homes inside of ductwork. For this reason, you should also watch out for any possible signs of pests every time you vacuum out your vents.
You Notice Unusual Odors Coming From Your Vents
If you notice something that smells rotten or any moldy or musty odors coming from your vents, the chances are fairly good that something is or was living inside your vents. Musty odors usually indicate that you have mold growing inside your vents, which is a common occurrence in Texas and other places that frequently experience high humidity.
Mice and other pests also love to nest inside of ductwork, which means the rotten smell could be coming from something that died inside your ducts. Unfortunately, this happens far more than you might think, but the good news is that duct cleaning can quickly and easily get rid of whatever might be inside there.
You Constantly Have to Replace Your Air Filter
Under normal conditions, you generally shouldn’t need to replace your air filter more than once every two or three months. This could potentially change to once every month or so during the middle of summer or any time when your HVAC system is running much more frequently. However, if you find that your air filter is getting overly dirty and clogged every few weeks, it’s definitely time to have your ducts cleaned.
Your Heating or Cooling System Isn’t Working as Effectively
Clogged air filters can drastically reduce the airflow in your HVAC system, and this can have a major impact on the efficiency and effectiveness of your home’s heating and air conditioning. This same issue can also result when dirt and dust pile up inside your ducts since this can also limit airflow. Of course, the issue might also indicate that your furnace, heat pump, or AC needs to be repaired. Still, if the problem persists throughout the whole year, this usually indicates that either your ducts are leaking or need to be cleaned. The good news is that duct cleaning also involves a full inspection of your ductwork, which makes it easy to pinpoint the specific cause.
Your Energy Bills Are Steadily Increasing
The fact that dirty ducts can limit the efficiency of your HVAC system means you’ll also end up paying more to keep your home properly heated and/or cooled. Steadily increasing energy bills are an obvious sign of an HVAC issue, but there could be many potential culprits. Having your HVAC system professionally maintained at least once a year is the best way to ensure it is free from any issues and working as efficiently as it should. Nonetheless, if you’re diligent about maintenance and still find your energy bills keep going up, it might be time to consider having your ducts inspected and cleaned.
You Experience Frequent Coughing, Sneezing, or Throat Irritation
Dirty ductwork can significantly impact your home’s indoor air quality. Pet dander, pollen, dust, and other allergens and irritants can collect inside your ducts and then spread through the home whenever your HVAC system runs. This can often lead to more frequent or more severe allergy symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, and sinus or throat irritation. Mold and pests inside the ducts can also drastically reduce air quality and potentially cause numerous health issues and breathing problems. Duct cleaning is an easy way to overcome these issues and improve your home’s air quality by minimizing the number of airborne particles spread by your HVAC system.
Your Home Was Newly Built or Recently Remodeled
Duct cleaning is also recommended for all new homes and after any remodels or other major construction work. Construction is undoubtedly dirty and creates a huge amount of dust and debris. Unfortunately, no matter how diligent the contractor was about cleaning up after themselves, much of the dust they create can still end up inside your vents and ducts. Moreover, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a carpenter or home builder that is diligent enough to attempt to clean out your ducts since very few, if any, of them will have the proper equipment to do so.
You should also consider duct cleaning if you have recently moved into your home unless the previous owner specifically told you that they recently had the ductwork cleaned. Duct cleaning should generally be performed at least once every two to three years and potentially every year in dry or dusty climates. Unless the previous owner was especially diligent, there is a high chance that it has been much longer than two or three years since the ducts were cleaned if they have ever been cleaned at all.
How Duct Cleaning Works
Duct cleaning essentially involves vacuuming out the ductwork, but, in reality, it’s a bit more complicated than that. The process involves creating negative pressure inside the duct system so that all the dust and debris can be sucked out. To create the negative pressure, all of the supply and return air vents are fully sealed. A hose is then attached to the ductwork and is then connected to an extremely powerful vacuum on a vehicle outside the house. Once the vacuum is turned on, special tools are used to stir up the dust and debris to make it easier to remove.
Most companies also use video cameras that they put inside the ductwork to aid in the process. This not only makes it easier to make sure the job is done properly, but it also allows for a full inspection of the ducts to ensure they are not damaged or leaking. This is important as the process won’t work properly if the ducts aren’t fully sealed since this will make it impossible to create enough pressure inside the system. In this situation, it may first be necessary to seal or repair the ducts before cleaning.
Expert Duct Cleaning and HVAC Services
If you need to have your ducts cleaned, Beyer Air Conditioning & Heating is up to the task. We have been providing professional duct cleaning and HVAC services to customers in San Antonio for more than 25 years, and our team has what it takes to make sure your heating and cooling systems are functioning as they should. We specialize in all types of heating and AC repairs as well as maintenance and new equipment installations. Give us a call today to schedule your duct cleaning appointment or if you need any other HVAC service.