When was the last time you had your air ducts cleaned? If you’re like most homeowners, this is a task that often slips through the cracks. That’s unfortunate for your home. Routine duct cleaning helps your household by:

  • Improving indoor air quality.
  • Making your system run more efficiently.
  • Revealing problems with your system.
  • Cutting energy bills.

Of course, you might still need some convincing if the idea of cleaning your air ducts regularly is completely new to you. Knowing about the benefits of having sparkling ducts will make you wonder why you ever lived with congested, dirty ducts. Keep reading to learn why it might be time to call in local professionals to get your ducts in top shape.

What Are the Signs My Air Ducts Need Cleaning?

You may never see visible signs that your ducts need to be cleaned. In many cases, the negative effects of dirty ducts creep in slowly. You may not actually know what it’s like to enjoy totally fresh air in your home if you’ve never cleaned your ducts. Here are some telltale signs it’s time for duct cleaning:

  • You’ve noticed dead insects in your air ducts.
  • You can spot rodent droppings in your air ducts.
  • Your HVAC vents appear dusty.
  • You can see debris stuck in your ducts.
  • A musty smell is coming from your HVAC system.
  • You’ve spotted visible mold in your ducts.

Has someone in your home been suffering from severe allergy symptoms, chronic respiratory issues, or unexplained illness? The idea that your dirty ducts could be to blame is not out of the question. Over time, mold and mildew can build up in ducts if they aren’t being regularly cleaned. Mold spores are then dispersed throughout your home through your ducts. Poor indoor air quality poses serious health risks to your entire family.

The truth is that you’re already overdue for duct cleaning if you’re seeing any insects, dust, debris, or mold within your system. You should schedule a duct cleaning immediately! However, you won’t always see visible signs when your ducts are in need of care. That’s why routine duct cleaning is important. You may be surprised to see what gets pulled out of your ducts after you have them professionally cleaned. The good news is that properly sealed ducts don’t generally require constant cleaning.

Do I Need to Clean My Ducts Every Year?

It’s not always necessary to clean your ducts every year. The general rule is that ducts should be cleaned every three to five years. However, you have the freedom to decide how frequently you’d like to get your ducts cleaned based on the specifics of your household. For example, someone with pets might want to have their ducts cleaned more often because they are concerned about pet hair and dander build-up in ducts. In addition, homeowners with older homes sometimes like to schedule duct cleanings more frequently simply because they know that their ducts tend to collect debris more easily. There are also some special circumstances that might make you want to consider a “special” duct cleaning that falls outside of your normal schedule. According to the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA), these are some of the circumstances that generally require immediate duct cleaning:

  • You’ve Just Moved to a New Home: Make duct cleaning one of the first things you do when moving into a new home. If you don’t clean your ducts, you could be breathing in decades of dust and debris from previous homeowners.
  • You’ve Just Built a New Home: Duct cleaning doesn’t become irrelevant just because you’re the first owner of a home. New constructions are messy. There’s a good chance that debris from drywall, wood, and other building materials got into your ducts.
  • You’ve Just Completed a Home Remodeling Project: Home construction projects create all kinds of dust and debris. All of the particles that get blown into the air while you’re completing your project will ultimately end up in your ducts when they settle. Unfortunately, that means you’ll be breathing in all of the particles that were released when you were sanding, cutting, and painting.
  • You’ve Just Added a Pet to Your Home: If you added a pet this year, schedule a special duct cleaning to pull up any extra dander and fur that could be clogging your ducts.
  • Your Heating and Cooling Bills Have Spiked: Unexplained spikes in heating and cooling costs could indicate a clog in your ducts.

There are many advantages to regularly cleaning your ducts that go deeper than just enjoying clean ducts. The truth is that having a local HVAC pro coming in regularly to take a look at your ducts could save you from the headache of missing serious issues with your heating and cooling system. In fact, your ducts being dirtier than normal could point to an issue elsewhere in your system. A professional will be able to spot telltale signs that your system isn’t working as efficiently as it could be based on what’s building up in your vents. This can then lead to a diagnostic process that allows you to get the issue fixed before your system fails. You also enjoy the benefit of having a more efficient system that could potentially save you money on monthly energy bills. It’s important to remember that the only way to keep your home at the proper temperature without wasting money is to make sure the air within your system is circulating correctly.

What Else Can I Do to Keep My Ducts Clean?

While routine “deep cleanings” can be important, homeowners can actually do even more to ensure that they are running healthy, efficient households. What should your complete plan look like? Here are some pointers to add to your checklist for keeping your ducts clear and clean between professional cleanings:

  • Always change your air filters according to manufacturer recommendations. For most systems, this means switching to a new filter every 90 days. Households with pets may need new filters every 30 to 60 days.
  • Reduce mold risks within your ducts by reducing your home’s humidity levels. Dehumidifiers, exhaust fans, and other efforts can help you to do this. If you’re mystified about reducing moisture in your home, your local HVAC company can offer plenty of helpful tips that don’t cost a lot of money.
  • Consider installing a whole-house air purification system.
  • Vacuum your floors regularly to reduce dirt, dust, mites, and pet hair before they make their way into your vents to reach your ducts. Don’t be afraid to vacuum the exterior of your vents.

Just “paying attention” is sometimes the most important thing when it comes to preserving the integrity of your ducts. If you’re noticing sudden poor airflow at your home, don’t ignore the change. Call a qualified local HVAC technician right away to evaluate your system. This could be a sign that there’s a clog somewhere in your ducts. Getting the problem checked out immediately is both a safe and cost-effective option.

Every homeowner should know what’s going on inside their ducts. After all, the air quality inside your ducts dictates the air quality inside your home. That’s why Delaware Heating & Air Conditioning is proud to offer routine duct cleaning and maintenance for our clients. We can provide tips on how to keep your HVAC system running efficiently, diagnose duct issues, and fix issues we find in your ducts. We make it easy to schedule appointments! Don’t live with dirty ducts for another day! Contact Delaware Heating & Air Conditioning for all of your HVAC needs!