Reasons to Clean your HVAC Ductwork

HVAC technian deciding how often to clean air duct

There are several home maintenance checklist items that you should perform annually or twice a year. Those include items like cleaning out your gutters, caulking your door or window frames, and scheduling an HVAC inspection. Another less frequent task is to clean your HVAC ductwork. 

Reason #1: Improves indoor air quality
Do you have members of your family who suffer from seasonal allergies? Do you have younger children in the home? Or do you take care of an elderly parent who recently moved in with you?

Whether you answered yes to these questions, or have other health concerns, recirculating dirty air is a recipe for disaster. We’re all keenly aware of the way airborne pollutants can spread after the past few years. Dust, dirt, and allergens can spread through your HVAC system, but a ductwork cleaning can help eliminate these before they affect your loved ones.

Reason #2: Improves system efficiency
Imagine picking up a straw and blowing through it. Now, picture a larger straw (like the ones you get when you order a smoothie). It’s a little bit easier, right?

Right now, you’re improving your airflow efficiency. Now, for the real test: place a folded paper towel over the opening of both and picture blowing through those same two straws. Not so easy, right?

In case it wasn’t obvious, the straws are an analogy for your HVAC ductwork. Regardless of the size of the pipe (straw), if there is a blockage your system will have to work harder to push air through itself.

That’s what happens when your ductwork is dirty. Slowly, and over time, it becomes harder and harder for your HVAC to circulate air. The worse the blockage, the harder it has to work. If the ducts are clear, it improves system efficiency.

Reason #3: Protects your system components
Imagine throwing a fallen stick through a spinning bike wheel. It’ll cause some damage, both to the bike and the rider, right?

Likewise, your blower motor can be damaged just as easily when something falls into your ductwork. Lego blocks, pet hair, and even jewelry can easily slip into your vents, making their way into your HVAC system. If they make it to your blower unit, they can cause significant damage to your system.

Reason #4: Eliminate mold
Although this is related to reason number one, we’re highlighting this reason separately because of the severe health hazard mold poses. The adage “what you can’t see can’t hurt you” doesn’t apply here. Any excessive moisture in your home can lead to mold growth, which in turn can cause both health and structural damage to your home. A routine cleaning of your HVAC ductwork can remediate this issue before it becomes a larger problem.

How often should I clean my HVAC ductwork?
Earlier, we mentioned that there are annual, semi-annual, and occasional tasks. Cleaning your HVAC ductwork is an occasional task. Once you have your first cleaning, you’ll want to discuss a schedule for this maintenance task with your technician as they may have household-specific recommendations for you.

But as a rule of thumb, the average length between cleanings should be between 3 and 5 years. Of course, if you have any questions about your HVAC system, or if your system isn’t acting as expected, just let us know. We’ll be in touch ASAP!

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