How Often Should You Clean Your HVAC Ducts?

Do you know what is hiding in the HVAC ducts in your home? If it has been a few years since your last duct cleaning, it could be a collection of dirt and other debris. Dirty ducts can affect your air quality and the health of your family. Here’s what you need to know about cleaning your air ducts, from frequency to signs it is time to schedule a cleaning now.

What is in Your Air Ducts?

If your air ducts are properly sealed and your humidity is low, your air ducts most likely stay clean longer with just a little dust collecting inside. However, most ducts are located in areas where they may be infiltrated by pests, which can lead to problems. Not only can pests like rodents create cracks or leaks in your duct work, they may be defecating and urinating in your ducts; holes they create can allow in other pests that may live and die in your ductwork. And if your home has high humidity, mold could be growing inside your ducts.

When Should You Clean Your Ducts?

For well-sealed ductwork without mold problems, cleaning will only need to be done every 3-5 years. But if you have signs of dirty ducts, you should schedule an inspection and cleaning sooner. These can include:

  • Duct vents are frequently dirty
  • There are bad odors emitted from your air ducts
  • You have a mold problem in your home
  • Those with dust and other air allergies are having more pronounced symptoms when in your home

Cleaning you air ducts as needed can help keep your home healthy. Make sure to have your ducts inspected during your annual HVAC service and professionally cleaned every few years.

Posted on behalf of:
Western Aire Heating & Cooling
264 Buchanan Highway
Dallas, GA 30157
(770) 505-7426

Sealing Your HVAC Ducts

Your central heating and cooling system uses a network of ducts to distribute heated or cooled air throughout your home.  The EPA estimates that on average, about 20 percent of the air moving through these ducts leaks out before reaching your vents.  All this lost conditioned air means that your HVAC system must work that much harder to keep your home comfortable.

In addition, if your ducts run through areas that get cold or hot like a basement or attic, insulating the ducts can improve the performance of your HVAC system.  Insulating and sealing your ducts can help with uneven heating and cooling problems.  The rooms farthest from your air handler are usually the most affected by this problem.

Some ducts are inaccessible because they are concealed behind walls or in ceilings or floors, but if your ducts are accessible in your crawlspace, basement or attic, sealing them properly can save you money on your heating and cooling bills and keep your home more comfortable.

If you choose to tackle the project yourself, use mastic or metal tape to seal any leaking joints in the duct system.  Be sure to check around where the ducts connect to the vents and make sure these connections are well sealed.  Insulate any ducts you have access to.

A better alternative is to let a reputable local HVAC contractor with experience in air duct fabrication handle the job.  They will do a professional job of sealing and insulating your ducts and can identify any other problems with your ductwork such as improper installation and design.