Do My Ducts Need Cleaned?

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Do My Ducts Need Cleaned?

Man examining duct through a vent - Williams Comfort Air Heating, Cooling, Plumbing & More

Your HVAC duct system runs through the entire home – under floors, above ceilings, and within walls – to spread comfortable, conditioned air across all living areas. All the conditioned air treated by your heating and cooling system travels through ductwork, so it is susceptible to any contaminants within the ducts. Duct cleaning helps Indianapolis homeowners eliminate dust, dirt, allergens, and other potentially harmful contaminants from the duct system for better indoor air quality and a cleaner home.

Many Central Indiana homeowners wonder if duct cleaning is something that their homes need. The NATE-certified HVAC professionals of Williams Comfort Air explain more about this process, how it’s performed, and when your home needs it. To schedule duct cleaning for your home, contact us today.

What Lurks in a Home’s Ducts?

Contaminants spread through your home via air circulation, facilitated in part by the duct system. Just as some dust and other matter falls out of suspension to settle on furniture and other surfaces inside your living areas, these contaminants are also deposited within the ducts as air passes through.

Many types of contaminants exist in your home and build up within its ductwork as air circulates. Common contaminants include:

  • Dust
  • Dirt
  • Pet hair
  • Pet dander
  • Pollen
  • Mold
  • Smoke
  • Chemicals

When these contaminants build up inside your ducts, certain issues arise. Family members with allergies or asthma may be exposed to allergens and triggers that recirculate, which leads to more frequent symptoms. Mold growth in the ducts or HVAC system causes damage, and as spores circulate through the air, your family is exposed which can cause serious health effects. Contaminants in the duct system also lead to persistent odors in the home.

When Does a Home Need Duct Cleaning?

Typically, duct cleaning is an ‘as needed’ service, meaning it does not usually need to be performed on a regular basis, like HVAC system preventive maintenance tune ups. Duct cleaning is recommended in situations such as:

Pest Problems

Pests have entered your duct system. Pests such as insects, mice, and other vermin are able to infiltrate a home’s ducts through the attic, crawlspace, basement, or even from outdoors. They live, nest, and even die inside, leaving behind droppings and even bodies, and contaminants from these materials circulate through your system and into your living areas. If there is evidence of pests in your ducts, you need to have the ducts cleaned and repaired to prevent future access.

Mold and Mildew Growth

A musty odor throughout your home is a common indicator of mildew and/or mold within the ductwork or on the HVAC system’s evaporator coil. You may be able to see visible mold growth within ducts or HVAC system components, or it could be growing somewhere deeper within the duct system that you are unable to access.

With constant exposure living in the home, the odor becomes less noticeable to the home’s occupants but is clearly detected by guests who visit. If you’ve noticed the entire home has a musty smell or visitors have commented on such an odor, your home may need air duct cleaning to remove mold and mildew growth, prevent its recurrence, and eliminate the odor across your home.

Excessive Contaminants

If you experience contaminants coming from your supply air vents and registers even after you have cleaned them, this is a sign of significant buildup in your ductwork. Your home’s ducts have likely accumulated excessive contaminants, which causes air to circulate the matter at an increased volume. In this situation, duct cleaning is helpful to remove buildup in the ducts and keep your home cleaner.

Allergies

If a member of your household is suffering from unexplained allergies, duct cleaning may be the solution you need to rid your home of the source of symptoms. If you have taken all possible measures to rid your home of allergens yet symptoms still arise, allergens within the duct system could be the cause.

Home Renovations

Sealing off ductwork is recommended when renovations or other construction work is performed in the home – however, this doesn’t always happen. Dust, debris, and other matter from the project easily circulates and settles within the duct system. This is especially concerning in situations where asbestos abatement or lead paint removal was performed. 

After a renovation project, have ducts cleaned to ensure debris from the construction project do not lead to further problems in your home. 

New Home

When moving into a new-to-you home, some homeowners prefer a fresh start when it comes to their ducts. You don’t know what contaminants may be trapped inside your new home’s duct system – a former occupant could have smoked indoors for years, there may have been several indoor pets or even a past pest infestation. Duct cleaning eliminates these unknown contaminants, helping your family avoid issues in your new home.

If you move into a newly built home, duct cleaning is also recommended due to the range of construction debris involved. Insulation fibers, drywall dust, sawdust, and more are produced and float around in the air before settling in the dust. During its construction is a time where your home is exposed to a high amount of debris – have your ducts cleaned after home construction to ensure a fresh new start throughout.

The Duct Cleaning Process

Professional duct cleaning service uses specialized equipment designed to remove contaminants and avoid damage to the home’s duct system. It begins with an inspection of your ducts to determine the level of contamination within, spot leaks that need to be sealed for best performance and to prevent future contaminant buildup, and to identify components made from asbestos-containing materials to prevent damage and exposure.

A high-powered vacuum system is connected to your duct system via a hose that feeds into a collection device outdoors. The vacuum is typically positioned at a location near the air handler – it may be necessary to cut access holes to access certain areas of your ductwork.  All registers are sealed before the cleaning process begins. The vacuum is turned on, which creates negative pressure within the duct system to suck out loose debris. Brushes are used to reach down into the duct system from each register to dislodge tough debris buildup. Compressed air is also used.

Technicians proceed to thoroughly clean additional HVAC components to remove debris buildup throughout the system. Once cleaning is finished, your technician reinstalls grilles and register covers. If access holes were made to perform cleaning, these are professionally repaired. During duct cleaning, great care is taken to prevent dirt and debris built up in the duct system from entering your indoor spaces and dirtying up your living areas. 

What Components Are Cleaned? 

Thorough duct cleaning service extends beyond just cleaning the actual ductwork of your home. Other components of the duct system and your HVAC systems are affected by contaminant accumulation – if they are not cleaned, too, it is possible for this contamination to recirculate back into your ducts as well as your living areas.

Williams Comfort Air’s duct cleaning service includes thorough contaminant removal for the following system components:

  • Supply ducts
  • Return air ducts
  • Registers
  • Grilles
  • Diffusers
  • Heat exchanger
  • Cooling coil

How Long Does Duct Cleaning Take?

The length of time it takes to complete duct cleaning service depends on several factors specific to your home. Typically, a duct cleaning appointment lasts between three to five hours. Factors that affect how long it takes to complete this service include:

  • The size of your home
  • The type of ductwork installed
  • The number of HVAC systems in use
  • The accessibility of your HVAC and duct systems
  • The level of contamination in the ducts
  • The number of technicians performing the service

Can I Clean My Home’s Ducts?

Cleaning a home’s ducts is not a DIY job. Attempting this task on your own opens up the risk of damage to the duct system. Duct connections can be dislodged, and flexible ductwork torn. This damage creates air leaks that reduce HVAC efficiency and wastes energy as your heating or cooling system consumes more power in attempts to make up for the loss from the leak. Air leaks also allow more contaminants to enter the duct system, further dirtying your ducts and diminishing indoor air quality in the home.

DIY Help to Keep Ducts Clean

In addition to professional duct cleaning services to remove contaminants deep within your home’s air ducts and from essential HVAC system components, there are a few steps homeowners need to take to help keep ducts clean.

  • Change air filters: Your furnace filter works to remove airborne contaminants from circulation, protecting sensitive HVAC system components from accumulation that hinders performance and efficiency. If you operate your HVAC system with a dirty filter, the filter is unable to capture contaminants, which leaves more in your air supply to settle in the ducts. Change your furnace filter on a regular basis according to the filter manufacturer’s recommended schedule and check the filter monthly to monitor its condition and determine if an earlier change is necessary.
  • Clean vents: Contaminants from circulating air stick onto the vents throughout your home. Remove this matter to prevent the possibility of recirculation and settling inside your ducts. Turn off your HVAC system and remove all supply vent covers and return air grilles. Thoroughly wipe them down to remove debris or clean with warm, soapy water to remove tough grime. 

Have Your Ducts Cleaned by Williams Comfort Air

Rid your Indianapolis area home of the contaminants and filth that lurks within your duct system. Williams Comfort Air’s duct cleaning service removes debris from your duct system, pulling it out of circulation to improve indoor air quality and the cleanliness of your home.

Schedule an appointment for duct cleaning service, performed by our NATE-certified heating and cooling professionals – contact us today!

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