Air Duct Cleaning: How to Prepare Your Home for Winter

Periodic air duct cleaning is needed to prevent the accumulation of pollutants such as dirt, dust, and mold in your home’s duct system. The flexible metal tubing used in most homes allows residue to build up in the corrugations and connecting joints. This accumulated buildup will be blown into your home whenever you run your heater or air conditioner. A professional air duct cleaner can remove all of these harmful elements and give you peace of mind when running your heater this winter.

Why air ducts need cleaning

When you understand how your home’s duct system works, you can see how easy it is for smoke, dust, and mold residue to build up and require removal by a qualified air duct cleaning service. Most heating and air conditioning systems (HVACs) consist of a heat exchanger and blower connected to two different sets of ducts. These air ducts run in both directions, allowing for the intake and outflow of air from the HVAC unit. The two main trunks are connected to a central supply line, creating several joints and corners where dust particles and allergens can collect. If you do not hire an air duct cleaner, all of these nasty pollutants will blast out of your home’s vents the first time you run your heater in the winter.

What air duct cleaners do

Professional air duct cleaners will remove all of the accumulated dirt, dust, smoke, and mold particles from your entire duct system, including those pockets of debris caught in the corners. They will clean the register covers, then remove them for better access to the air duct system. Long-handled brushes and vacuums are used for the actual air duct cleaning. After the inside of the air ducts are cleaned, the contractor will move on to clean around the HVAC unit itself and replace any needed filters. The entire air duct cleaning process generally takes two to four hours for an average-sized home.

How often to clean air ducts

The general rule is to have your air ducts cleaned every three to five years. If you have allergies or asthma, it may be a good idea to schedule more frequent air duct cleaning to maintain good air quality in your home. Some air duct cleaning companies offer the option of having an antibacterial or microbial spray applied to the system to cut down on bacteria and mold. Smokers or people with pets might also need to clean their air ducts more often than every three years, depending on the amount of pollutant buildup. Look at your register covers for any signs of dirt, mold, or a musty odor. These may indicate a problem inside the ducts that requires the assistance of a professional air duct cleaner.

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