How Often Should You Clean Your Air Duct


Cleaning air ducts is greatly dependent on environmental conditions and the locality of your house. For air ducts to work at maximum capacity, they need proper cleaning. This article will help you understand what is air duct is, parts of air ducts, air duct cleaning tools and when you should clean the air duct.

What is Air duct?

Air ducts are channels of pipelines that convey air entering via vents to your house or any room in the house for proper ventilation. The purpose of Air ducts is to deliver air at the proper temperature to every corner of your house, so this system makes sure good ventilation, cooling, and heating in the house.

Parts of Air Ducts

Ducts are made up of many parts, which include

  • Isolators for controlling vibration (often, air handler makes ducts tremble, which is responsible for causing noise in apartments or offices in which system is installed. Hence, isolators play an important role in minimizing and controlling noise to ensure residents’ comfort.)
  • Dampers to control volume of incoming air (duct system work properly only when proper amount of air enters vents. Dampers are used to control the volume of air flowing throughout the system. Both manual and automatic dampers can be used as per your need.)
  • Take offs for diversion of air (If your main duct system is divided into many branches, take offs are applied in main duct in order to dispense air into subsidiaries.)
  • Smoke Damper (these are fitted if duct is passing near a fire curtain.)

Tools used for cleaning Air ducts

Proper and thorough air duct cleaning system can be done by using these tools:

  • Filters (Filters are changed after cleaning the air ducts. So you should choose a good filter that will work best in your system.)
  • Mask (if you are cleaning ducts by yourself, you must use mask and gloves.)
  • Vacuum (big and powerful vacuum with a large hose is necessary to clean air ducts thoroughly. Vacuum will absorb smut and soot from vents and ducts.)
  • Brush (cleaner can use medium size to clean the inner walls of duct system.)
  • Drill/Screw driver (in order to open nut and screw of vents, you need a drill powerful enough to do the task properly. Screw driver can be helpful too.)
  • Cloth (You can use Fiber cloth for cleaning purpose.)

When often to clean the Air ducts?

If installation of your air duct system was proper, it may work effectively and efficiently for a long period of time. It might not need cleaning from 3 years up to 5 years depending upon material, proper sealing and installation of system. If you want to clean air duct without any professional help, you should read How to Clean Air Ducts Yourself.

Even when you are change filter every six month as per recommended by manufacturing company or you practice cleaning floor, there is still a chance that smut and soot might enter in your duct system and air duct cleaning should be done. Smut can cause contamination that will affect the quality of air inside your home as well as it will hinder your system from working effectively. This might result in high electricity bills. Dust can also reduce the duration and expectancy of ducts. when any of following is present in ducts, need immediate cleaning.

  • Molds

Molds are major cause of allergens and problems in respiratory system. if somehow mold is present in your ducts, it can and will grow allover your house. When cold or hot air flows through duct, it is likely that it will cause precipitation in vents and ducts (this problem can happen in humid environment). As mold usually grow inside ducts, vents and around parts which you can not see through eye, it might visibly be hard to identify mold. You can identify mold from their distinctive smell.

Air ducts needs immediate cleaning if mold is present so quality of air inside your house will be free from odor. For cleaning of duct, call a duct technician. In order to further control mold growth in your home, you need to apply a dehumidifier in your house or adjust the temperature of air accordingly.

  • Dust/Dirt

Dust can come in your home through anywhere: an open window or door, dirty shoes or house pet. Dusting can be helpful in controlling dirt from entering but it still can find its way in your home. With dust comes contamination and smut which affect the quality of air inside home. Dust is visible through naked eye so look onto ducts/ vents for dust and around metals in duct system. If dust is present there, you should open ducts and clean the dusty areas with vacuum or cloth or paper towel. Changing filter on time as per recommendation can be helpful in preventing dirt from entering ducts.

  • Rodents/pests

Air ducts are perfect place for mice and rodents to hide in. If sealing of your ducts are not propel, rodent will enter your duct through the opening and reside there. If mice are living in your ducts, they will not only cause problem in vents and ducts. But their feces will be a source of contamination in your house and air inside. You can identify their presence by finding feces in your home and via smell they cause. Presence of rodent or pest are indication that not your ducts need disinfestation and cleaning. But your house does too as they are likely to chew wiring of your house especially of air conditioning.

  • Remodeling/Renovation of house

When you remodel your house or undergo renovation, dirt and smut can enter easily inside your duct system if not covered properly as construction causes a lot of dust pollution. So it is recommended to have duct system checked after renovation and air duct cleaning might be needed.

  • Increased Energy invoice

If there is an increase in your bills, it is an indication that you need to have your ducts system checked and cleaned as any leaks or opening will cause an increase in energy consumption. Leaks can be detected if flow of air or availability of air in not even throughout your home.

Bottom Line

Air duct cleaning can be helpful in improving the air quality of your house. If you observe any mentioned signs, duct cleaning should be your priority as it will improve life of air ducts.

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