Your home’s ducts are responsible for delivering heated and cooled air throughout your house. When those ducts become dirty or clogged, they can’t deliver that air as effectively, driving up your utility costs and HVAC strain. Consider these eight signs that your ducts need the attention of a professional cleaning service.

1. Dirty Vent Covers

Start by checking the duct vent covers around your home. You’re looking for substantial dust or signs of mold or mildew on and around the cover.

When your ducts have substantial buildup inside them, the air moving through will pick up some of those particles. As the air moves out of the vents, heavier particles will settle on the vent covers and the surrounding floor.

2. Odors When Your HVAC System Runs

Odors can be a major indicator of things happening within your HVAC system. Some smells are even indicative of contaminant buildup in your ducts.

Typically, this will be an unpleasant smell and you can’t locate an alternate source for the smell. It may be a musty smell, such as when there’s been excess moisture combined with the contaminants in the ducts. It could also be an unpleasant rotten smell if a rodent has crawled into your ductwork and died.

3. Inconsistent Heating or Cooling

Your system depends on pushing a certain volume of air through each of your vents, a process known as balancing. This creates high pressure at the supply vents and negative pressure at the return vents. A properly balanced system causes the right pressure difference to move the heated and cooled air evenly throughout your home.

Clogged or partly clogged ducts interrupt the air volume designed into the system. This translates into uneven temperatures throughout your home. Other issues within your HVAC system may also cause uneven temperatures, so you should have a professional troubleshoot the underlying cause and find the right solution.

4. You Notice a Lot of Dust Around Your Home

As the circulating air picks up particles from within your ducts, the lighter particles will circulate out into your air. Eventually, these become heavier and will settle back onto surfaces around your home. If you’re finding that you have more dust than usual, it could be that your ducts need a good cleaning.

5. Noises Coming From Your Ductwork

When your ducts are clean and properly sealed, they shouldn’t produce any sound as your system runs. However, if they create an airflow restriction you may hear a banging or popping sound as excessive pressure and temperatures build within the ducts.

6. Your Air Filter Clogs Quickly

It’s easy to miss when your air filter becomes clogged unless you have a plan to check it more regularly than its scheduled replacement. Ideally, check your filter monthly, knowing that it shouldn’t need changing that frequently.

You have an air quality problem if you find that it’s substantially dirty every month when you check it. The first consideration for poor air quality is the buildup that can happen in your ducts. Keep changing your air filters, but also have a professional come evaluate your ducts.

7. It’s Been More Than 5 Years Since They Were Cleaned

Fortunately, ducts don’t commonly need cleaning every year. Rather, the recommended cleaning schedule is every three to five years under normal conditions.

If you don’t have a record of when your ducts were last cleaned, or you know it’s been more than five years, it may be time to schedule a cleaning. Getting your service scheduled on time helps prevent many problems commonly associated with dirty ducts.

8. You’ve Completed a Major Home Project

As just mentioned, the three-to-five-year recommendation is based on normal conditions. However, major home projects often create a lot of dust, which quickly settles into nearby ducts.

These home projects may include hanging new drywall, doing any amount of mudding followed by sanding, or even scrapping old paint. Any project where you’re cutting wood inside also creates a lot of dust. Once you complete the project, plan to have your ducts cleaned before you depend on either your heating or cooling system.

People around Temple Terrace have turned to Ahoy! Cooling & Heating since 2010 to keep their air healthy and comfortable. Our expert technicians provide indoor air quality solutions and duct cleaning combined with full heating and cooling installation, maintenance, and repair. Call today to schedule your duct cleaning with one of our expert technicians.

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