Spring is the season that gets all the press for annual household cleaning, but Autumn’s waning days give you another opportunity to wrap up some important chores and maintenance that might not always get the attention they deserve. One of the most important things you can do to help ensure a happier, healthier life for you and your family is annual HVAC duct maintenance.
Regardless of your lifestyle or the state of your home, it’s likely that scheduling an annual duct cleaning can not only improve the air you’re breathing, but help your HVAC system operate at peak performance and efficiency.
The Dangers of Dingy, Dirty Ducts
Dirty ductwork doesn’t necessarily mean you’re breathing unsafe or unhealthy air, but consider this: the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) estimates that the average six-room home accumulates around 40 pounds of dust and debris each year—and that’s just from being occupied!
NADCA estimates the dust, dander, chemicals and castoffs we generate through everyday living are recirculated through our homes an average of 5-7 times a day. Eventually, this can lead to a buildup of particulates in the ducts, so keeping your ducts clean is the smart move for anyone who enjoys a breath of fresh air.
Of course, the more clean air challenges a home has, the greater the benefit it will receive from an annual system duct cleaning. Homes with smokers, pets who generate substantial shedding and dander, or kids and adults who suffer from breathing conditions such as asthma or emphysema will likely see significant improvement in air quality with cleaner ducts.
And, naturally, any home that’s recently been flooded, damaged, or remodeled requires special attention to the duct work, as mold from undetected moisture can build up in the ductwork and create a risk for serious health concerns.
The folks at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suggest that visible mold growth in or on your duct work (or any component of your HVAC system) is a sign it’s time to schedule some professional duct maintenance. Your local HVAC pro can help you pinpoint the problem and eliminate any leaks or other moisture-producing trouble spots that can keep mold coming back again and again.
Finally, any infestation of insects, rodents, or other household pests is definitely a sign that a good cleaning is in order. Not only can household vermin carry disease and contaminants of their own, but they might damage your HVAC system simply by physically occupying the space.
Take a Deep Breath and Schedule an Annual Duct Cleaning
Ultimately, the decision to schedule routine duct maintenance depends on you and the needs of your family, and it’s entirely possible you might find your system is performing adequately without a yearly visit from your friendly HVAC pro. But for ultimate peace of mind—or if your home has any of the warning signs or special conditions we’ve discussed above—consulting an indoor quality expert can help you breathe a sigh of relief.