Though you may be a homeowner that's vigilant about keeping up with most maintenance demands of your home, you may be unaware of the dirt that's hiding in your ducts. Your HVAC system should be a sealed system that doesn't gather dust, debris, mold or bacteria. But if you're seeing or smelling something foul when your air system is circulating, there's possibly a breach in your system.
Dirt can enter through floor returns, or when your intake is situated in a panned joist return, a common configuration for residential installations. Sometimes you don't even have to see or smell anything unusual to have dirty ducts though. So if you hadn't considered getting your ducts cleaned, here's why you sometimes need to have it done.
The Silent Enemy
Dirty ducts can limit intake and flow, which can make your entire HVAC system less efficient with continual usage. Though you may not see or smell anything afoul, you may be paying more for energy than you actually need to. Even without a disruption in your duct work, you can be taking in dust and dirt through a joist or wall return, or when venting is located on the floor.
Dirty ducts can also be a breeding ground for mold, bacteria, and mites, which can have negative effects on your family that manifests in the form of constant sinus infections and allergies. If you see unusual coloration around vents, like fuzzy dark patches, you definitely need to have your ducts cleaned, and fast. Mold can accumulate that has toxic side effects for years, so make sure you eliminate the threat from your entire system.
It's Easier Than You Think
Duct cleaning can be done in hours, and the results will not only provide you with a better way to breathe and live, but a more efficient system as far as energy demands. HVAC duct cleaners should use fans and air jetting systems to remove debris, and chemically-treat with environmentally-friendly materials as necessary, because the chemicals can stay in your ducts long after they leave. Air jetting and fans help to naturally displace dust and debris that accumulates, so if your system doesn't show bacterial or mold growth there's no need to treat it.
You also don't need to constantly have your ducts cleaned, as long as there isn't a breach in your system. You can prevent dirt from returning by using filters on floor vents, or in extreme cases, re-configuring a panned joist return so that it isn't situated horizontally. With one visit, a professional can assess your system, offer a way to fix any existing problems, and remove anything that's clogging your intake.