Air duct cleaning can be a pricey service for your home, and experts are divided on whether it really helps. However, there are a few situations in which having your air ducts cleaned is a necessity for the health and safety of you and your family. It's important to keep in mind that in most of these scenarios, repairs are often required to prevent the problem from recurring. If you experience any of the following situations, it's time to schedule an air duct cleaning appointment:
1. Mold - If you can see visible mold growth or if you notice a musty odor coming from your air vents, it's important to have someone out right away. Several types of mold can make people and pets seriously ill. If you even suspect mold growth could be happening in your air ducts, even if you can't see it, it's a necessary issue to have checked. Mold growth can happen in your air ducts due to water leaks or even an HVAC system that isn't properly ventilated and is causing condensation in the air ducts.
2. Infestation - A number of critters could take up residence in your air ducts. An infestation of rodents, insects or even bats can be hazardous to your family's health and the pests can cause serious damage to your home - both in your duct system and elsewhere in your home. If you suspect you have an infestation in your air ducts or that has spread to your air ducts, it's time for both a good exterminator and a duct cleaning. In this scenario, you'll want to budget for air duct repairs as well.
3. Excessive Debris Build-up - If your air ducts have excessive visible debris and grime build-up in the actual air ducts (not just dirty vents and intakes which are intended to capture dirt and dust to prevent it from building up in your duct system and are simple to clean). This scenario is uncommon and usually involves damage to the duct system that is letting the dirt in.
4. Unexplained Illness - If someone in your household is suffering from an unexplained illness, particularly respiratory issues, an air duct cleaning might be a good idea. Problems that aren't visible to you could be allowing indoor air pollutants into your duct system that circulate into your home, resulting in unexplained illnesses. While this is uncommon, it can help you rule out your duct system as a possible cause as well.
One of the best ways to prevent the build-up of dust and debris in your air ducts is to practice good HVAC maintenance habits. Frequently change the air filter (or clean according to manufacturer instructions for reusable air filters). And follow a regular schedule for professional cleaning and maintenance of your HVAC system - at least once per year. If you have questions about your air duct system, the experts at Carolina Comfort Systems are there to help.