Over time, air ducts become dusty, mold grows, and other issues emerge, such as clogging, debris presence, and dust and particulates are discharged into the interior quarters, where they can be breathed and pose a health risk. These are the reasons why air ducts, like any other cleaning, heating, and cooling system component, must be cleaned. Cleaning the air ducts helps enhance indoor air quality by preventing dust and debris from accumulating inside the system. However, the question is, how often? Don’t worry! We’ll discuss it here clearly.
What is the recommended frequency in cleaning the air ducts?
For all to achieve maximum performance of the air ducts, all should have their respective air ducts be maintained in a timely manner. However, how timely? The frequency with which ducts are cleaned varies per home or commercial space. Nevertheless, the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) recommends air duct cleaning every 3 to 5 years as a general guideline. One can extend the cleaning guideline from 6 to 8 years using particular procedures. You can extend the duration between expert cleanings if your system is well-maintained and your filters are exchanged twice a year. If your system hasn’t been cleaned in more than three years and has been active on your property, it’s probably time.
Also, based on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), one should not clean air ducts on a regular basis, but only when necessary. Below are the circumstances that you should be observant of so you can subject your air ducts to cleaning even if it still doesn’t meet the three to five years general guideline:
Debris from a rodent. Rodents are small mammals with incisors or sharp front teeth. They bite with these teeth to seek food and find refuge. Rodents include rats, mice, and squirrels. Unfortunately, rodents will nest and breed almost anyplace in the house, and your ducting could be the ideal place for them to do so.
These mice, insects, rats, and other small animals may find their way into your ducting, establishing a home and leaving droppings behind. Rodents can not only exploit air ducts to get to the wiring of your HVAC system, but they can also give a serious health risk in your residence or commercial facility. The bacteria that cause Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome are found in the urine and droppings of mice (HPS). HPS becomes a big problem for your household if it is inhaled when your HVAC blows in the vile stench of urine and mouse droppings. Their droppings can irritate lungs and infect members of your home, posing a health risk.
Urine and droppings aren’t the only signs of a rat infestation in your air ducts. The stench of a dead animal in your system is another “dead” indicator.
Development of mold inside the air ducts. Mold thrives in air ducts because it’s dark unspoiled, and if it’s there, it’s growing off whatever moisture is still present. If mold has grown inside the air ducts, you should investigate.
Now, why worry about the presence of molds? Mold in your air ducts will release airborne contaminants into your living environment. When you get in contact with some of these particles or breathe them into your lungs, you risk a number of unpleasant health consequences, some of which are fatal.
Mold gives off a foul smell. Now, if you’ve been smelling it within your property for a while, it’s definitely time to assess to see whether your ducts should have to be treated. Determine which mold strain is present in your air ducts and begin eliminating it straight away if mold is discovered. Also, observe you and your family members whether they experience one of these symptoms as you were exposed to air duct mold: headaches, sneezing, coughing, runny nose, eye irritation, skin irritation, the difficulty of breathing, tightness in the chest, and severe or fatal neurological issues. As a result, get your air ducts tested and cleaned.
Foul-smelling or dusty odor. It is definitely time to have your ducts cleaned if you’ve noticed a dusty or musty smell when turning on your HVAC system. This odor indicates that dust and debris have accumulated in your ducts and are often transported into your chambers along with all the warm and cold breeze from your Air conditioning system. If the air that comes out of your system has a weird odor, even if you use it every day, now is a good time to have your ducts cleaned.
Clogging. Clogs can occur if ductwork is damaged. Air ducts that are clogged should be cleaned as soon as possible.
When ducts get clogged, one or more rooms will be unable to heat or cool when needed properly. Blocked or clogged air ducts can force your HVAC system to work excessively to keep your home consistently cool if left untreated.
It would be best to look for any ductwork with loose seams or gaps. Because ducts, especially flex ducts, are meant to move, they may be detached rather quickly. The presence of uneven temperatures can detect a clog. If you’ve observed this, contact your air duct cleaning company and let the job be done for you. There’s no need for you to wait until the three to five years general guideline lapses; subject your air ducts to cleaning before it causes you so much trouble.
Apart from the general guideline that NADCA recommends for how often should one do air duct cleaning and the EPA’s recommendation of only cleaning your air ducts if it is necessary, NADCA also recommends cleaning your air ducts when you embark on a new residential, after buying a new house, after ending a home remodeling project, if you have companion animals that shed, and if you have people or family members who smoke in your home.
Everyone needs to breathe clean air in their homes. However, if you are aware and informed about the necessary frequency, you will be able to maintain your air ducts properly and will not cause you any problems. A comprehensive air duct cleaning at the right frequency would remove all visible and concealed dirt and other material from the air ducts and the related HVAC system. In the end, whether and how often you clean your air ducts will depend on your home and your specific needs. Now that you’ve been able to know how often cleaning your air ducts is done, you can literally save a penny and save you and your family’s health.