Duct-work can be a blessing during hot summers and cold winters, as it transports warm or cool air to the rooms that need it most, but it can be a nightmare when it needs to be cleaned. If your home has duct-work, it’s important to keep it clean to keep the air inside your home healthful, control the symptoms of allergies or asthma, and reduce your cleaning workload.

What Is Duct-Work?

Ducts are the component of HVAC systems that transport air. They may deliver air that has been cooled by a central air conditioner or warmed by a heating system, or remove air to ventilate rooms. If a home has some form of central heating, ventilation, or air conditioning system, it has duct-work.

When Should Ducts Be Cleaned?

Sometimes, it’s easy to tell when duct-work needs cleaning– if you see dust collected around air vents or immediately inside ducts, that’s a sign that they need to be cleaned. You may also notice more dust collecting on your furniture or upholstery. There may also be sign of mold or rodent infestation. These are all signs of ducts that have been neglected and ducts should be kept properly cleaned and maintained long before they get to that stage. If proper cleaning and maintenance procedures are followed, ducts should only need to be cleaned about every 3 to 7 years.

Are There Benefits to Having Clean Duct-Work?

The air quality in the average home can be up to five times worse than the air quality outside. This can aggravate conditions like allergies, asthma, or COPD. While the EPA has not found that duct cleaning actually prevents the development of health problems, keeping ducts clean can make those who already suffer from them more comfortable.

Are There Drawbacks to Having Dirty Duct-Work?

If ducts are allowed to accumulate dust, pollen, mold, or rodent droppings, this can result in these particles being blown into living spaces. They can settle on furniture and upholstery, requiring homeowners to clean more often in order to keep down dust levels inside their homes. People with allergies or other breathing problems may also notice that their symptoms worsen as ducts accumulate more and more dirt. Some people may even notice a direct correlation between feeling ill and their time spent inside a specific building, a condition called “sick building syndrome” that may be tied to dirty, poorly maintained HVAC systems.

There are few things more important than clean air. By having your duct-work properly cleaned and kept in good repair, you can help ensure the cleanliness of your home and the health of your family.

Sources:
http://www.air-care.com/faq
http://www.epa.gov/iaq/pubs/airduct.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sick_building_syndrome