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How Often Should You Clean Your Air Ducts?

If you don’t feel your best, you may find that your air ducts are to blame.

Your air ducts transport hot and cold air through your home. Like the other parts of your system, however, they require routine maintenance. However, there are times when HVAC maintenance must go beyond changing the air filters.

Taking care of your air vents will ensure the maximum efficiency of your system. Over time, your ducts can collect a buildup of dust and mold. These pollutants can cause allergic reactions that affect your family’s health.

If you’re concerned about air quality, you may wonder about the answer to the question, “How often should you clean your air ducts?” To find out how often to clean ducts, keep reading.

Air-Quality Matters

There’s never been a more important time to consider the air quality in your home. Because of the coronavirus, you’re more likely to spend more time indoors than ever before.

Good air quality is essential for healthy living. You can promote good air quality in your home by reducing the number of indoor irritants and allergens.

On average, people take 20,000 breaths every day and spend 90% of their time indoors. As they do, they can inhale harmful elements that can trigger allergies and asthma symptoms. Eliminating these harmful elements is a good way to start on the path to breathing healthier air.

Any particle or gas that is not a part of air can negatively affect air quality. These particles create air pollution.

When you open doors and windows, you also let in contaminants such as pollen. Indoors, the activities of your family may create allergens such as dust, pet dander, mold, or smoke.

Also, humidity is no friend of indoor air quality. It helps to promote mold growth and it can also nurture dust mite activity. Your HVAC system traps these allergens and can start to hold an unhealthy buildup of contaminants over time.

Signs That Your Ducts Need Cleaning

There’s no ideal answer to the question, “How often should I clean my HVAC system?” However, there are guidelines that you can follow to figure out how often to clean air ducts.

For instance, you should always clean air ducts when you move into a new home. There’s no way to know the last time that the homeowner cleaned the air ducts unless they tell you directly.

If the previous owner had pets, or the home had recent renovations, cleaning the ducts is even more important. It’s also important to clean the air ducts if the previous residents were smokers.

You should also consider cleaning your air ducts if the HVAC system shows signs of water damage. Duct cleaning is also advisable if the home had a pest infestation. It’s also important to have your ducts cleaned if there are any signs of mold in your home.

Your HVAC system works hard to remove these contaminants from the air. It catches most pollutants in the filters. However, the residue of these contaminants builds on the walls of your air ducts over time.

How Often Should You Clean Your Air Ducts?

If you’re looking for an answer to the question, “How often should vents be cleaned?” there is one organization that suggests a somewhat firm number.

In general, the National Air Duct Cleaners Association recommends cleaning your ducts every three to five years. However, the ideal time to clean your ducts can change based on a range of factors. The organization bases its estimate on its members’ experience cleaning a wide range of HVAC systems.

It’s important to note that if you find that you must clean your air ducts more than once a year, there’s most likely something wrong with your system. Somehow, contaminants are infiltrating the components of your ventilation system. In this case, you’ll need to call in an HVAC professional to find and repair the problem.

There are a few telling signs that can help you identify when you need to clean your ducts. For example, you may notice a dust buildup outside of the registers. Alternatively, you may see excessive debris around the filters.

You may also see a thick buildup of dust on the ducts. Alternatively, you may notice a burst of dust coming out of your vents when you turn on your HVAC system. Finally, if you smell mold coming out of your air vents, that odor is a strong indicator that you need to have your air ducts cleaned.

A Breath of Fresh Air: Getting the Job Done

Instead of asking, “How often to clean air ducts?” a better question is, “How often should I get my air ducts cleaned?”

Air duct cleaning is not a DIY job. It’s important to hire a professional for the task. There are several reasons why it’s better to hire a pro for the job.

A consumer vacuum cleaner isn’t up to the task of cleaning air ducts. Furthermore, you could damage your air ducts as you’re trying to clean them.

An HVAC professional will use a special commercial grade-vacuum to clean your air duct system. The vacuum has powered attachments that will loosen dirt debris from your ductwork. Also, it won’t spew more contaminants into the air as it cleans your ducts.

Make Clean Air a Healthy Habit!

Now you know the answer to the question, “How often should you clean your air ducts?” However, it’s also important to make a routine of getting rid of dust to maintain the air quality in your home. Additionally, it’s important not to use cleaning practices that can worsen your indoor air quality.

For example, you should always wear a mask when dusting or cleaning. Also, stay away from products that contain volatile organic compounds.

You may also want to consider purchasing a vacuum with HEPA certification. Additionally, wash curtains and rugs in water that is 130-degrees in temperature or higher.

Finally, dust everywhere as much as possible. Clean behind furniture, under dressers, and behind nightstands. Also, don’t forget about the less obvious spaces, such as fan blades, light fixtures, and high closet shelves.

By cleaning your air ducts when needed and making a habit of dusting, your family can enjoy healthy, fresh air consistently.