10 Signs It’s Time to Have Your Air Ducts Cleaned
You spend most of your time cleaning and maintaining the more visible areas of your home, so it’s easy to forget your HVAC system. Although out of sight, there are a variety of signs that indicate that it’s time to have your air ducts cleaned. Cleaning will extend the lifespan of your HVAC, keep your home air quality healthy, and optimize your energy efficiency.
#1 It’s Been 3 Years or More
You only need to schedule professional cleaning every 3 to 5 years. Unlike most areas of your home, it’s not something you can do yourself. Ducts extend the full length of your home. Even if you pop your vent cover off and clean what you can reach, the most contaminated areas are out of reach.
Some of the circumstances below warrant cleaning sooner than every 3 to 5 years.
#2 Mold on Your Vents
If you notice mold or mildew when you clean your vents, it’s time to schedule professional cleaning. This is most common in areas of high humidity, such as your bathroom. However, the ducts themselves are typically more humid than the rest of your home. Mold and mildew growth could also be a sign of a leak or damaged vent. The damage isn’t just allowing moisture in, but it’s letting your heated or cooled air out.
#3 Your Energy Bill Is on the Rise
Energy bills fluctuate from one season to the next and from one year to the next. That being said, if your bill is higher for an unexplained reason—or higher than your smart home estimate, dirty ducts could be the cause. When your ducts are dirty, it restricts airflow. Your HVAC system must work harder to circulate air throughout your home, causing your energy bill to rise. There could be a few other culprits. Either way, it’s time for a professional inspection.
#4 Rodent Infestation
If you see, hear, or smell the signs of a rodent infestation, don’t delay in scheduling pest control. Ducts are one of the places rodents and insects like to nest. So, part of your remediation process may be repairing, replacing, or having your air ducts cleaned. An infestation is cause for a full attic and home inspection.
#5 Musty Smells
We mentioned “smelling” the signs of a rodent infestation above. If you smell urine or a foul odor coming out of one or more of your ducts, it could be due to rodents or insects. A musty or unpleasant odor could be mold or mildew growth that is out of sight. Whatever the source of the unpleasant odor, it’s not healthy for you or your family.
#6 Excess Dust or Soot
If you have to dust your vent covers more often than usual, or they have more dust than usual—it’s time. Dusty ducts could also be the cause of excess dust throughout your home. Also, pay attention to whether your air filters are visibly dirtier than usual. While filters should have visible dust (as well as particles that are invisible to the naked eye) excessive dust is a sign it’s time to clean. You may also need to have them cleaned if you’ve had an in-home or nearby local fire, as the soot can settle in your ducts.
#7 After Construction
It’s exciting having your home remodeled, but even small projects can generate a lot of dust. This dust settles in your ducts and spreads throughout your home. At the very least, clean or change your air filters immediately after remodeling. Consider hiring a post-construction clean-up crew with HEPA vacuums and plugging in a portable air filter for the next few days post-construction. Be sure to check the air filter on your portable device daily after a remodel.
Also, keep an eye out for increased dust in your home or to see if your air filter gets dirtier faster than usual. If so, it’s time to have your air ducts cleaned.
#8 Noisy Ducts
Air should flow silently throughout your home. If you hear rattling, banging, or popping sounds it is a sign that something is awry. Your ducts could be clogged disjointed, or damaged. Sometimes it’s as simple as the expansion and contraction of your ducts when it’s cold.
#9 Weak Airflow
If hot and cold air isn’t flowing as strong as it usually does, this is a sign of a block somewhere in your vent. This might mean that some vents have free-flowing air, while others don’t. The block could be due to dusty build-up, rodent infestation, or damage.
#10 Respiratory Problems
If anyone in your home has asthma, allergies, or other respiratory conditions, timely duct and filter cleaning and maintenance are more important. So, if you or a loved one have a cough that won’t go away or respiratory problems have flared up, it may be time to have your air ducts cleaned.
Schedule Your Air Duct Inspection Today
If you live in Oakland or the San Francisco Bay area and would like to have your HVAC system and ducts inspected for cleaning and maintenance—give AtticPros a call!