Posted on November 18, 2014

preventing dirty ductsDirty ductwork in your Amarillo area home can take a toll on your indoor air quality and HVAC system. Dust, dust mites, mold, fungi, and bacteria in your ducts can aggravate allergy and asthma symptoms. Particles can end up inside your heating and cooling system, rendering it less efficient and further degrading indoor air quality. Preventing dirty ductwork is essential for protecting the indoor air quality of your home.

Poor indoor air quality results in the expenditure of $1 billion a year in medical costs in the U.S., according to credible health studies. Dirty ventilation systems are responsible for over 50 percent of sick building syndrome cases, and it’s estimated that bacteria and fungi in the duct system are responsible for the allergies and asthma symptoms of one out of six people who suffer from these respiratory illnesses.

While clean ducts are essential to good health, it would be counterproductive to have your ducts cleaned without evidence that they actually need it.

When to Have Your Ducts Cleaned

While there’s some debate as to whether duct cleaning should be a regular part of HVAC maintenance, all parties, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, agree that these signs indicate an urgent need to hire a professional for a ductwork inspection and cleaning:

  • There’s visible mold growth around or in your ductwork, registers or other HVAC components.
  • There’s evidence that your ducts are inhabited by rodents or insects.
  • Excessive dust particles are expelled from your supply registers when your heating or cooling system is running.
  • Someone in your household suddenly begins to experience allergy or asthma symptoms that coincide with the on cycle of your HVAC equipment.

Preventing Dirty Ductwork

Preventing dirty ductwork is a matter of taking a few simple steps to help keep pollutants out. These five simple measures will go a long way toward helping to protect your ductwork against dust and other contaminants, ensure good indoor air quality and avoid the need to have your ducts cleaned, which can be expensive and inconvenient.

Preventive Maintenance

The top way to keep your ducts clean is to schedule preventive maintenance on your HVAC equipment each year. The preventive tune-up includes cleaning the interior components of the system to remove dust buildup, which is the culprit in 90 percent of HVAC failure incidents. Dust isn’t just bad for your respiratory system, though — it is also a major factor in HVAC efficiency. Just 1/16th of an inch of dust on a heat-exchange coil, for example, results in a 21 percent decrease in efficiency.

In addition to the annual professional tune-up, preventing dirty ductwork requires a clean HVAC air filter. The filter protects your system and the ductwork against dust and other particles, and it’s your first defense against poor indoor air quality. Check your filter every month and replace it with a good-quality, pleated filter when it’s covered in dust.

Protect the Ducts During Renovation

If you’re having work done on your house, it’s essential to tightly seal the return and supply registers with plastic in order to keep dust out of the ductwork, especially if there will be mold spores or dangerous substances like asbestos involved.

Keep the House Clean

Dust in the house eventually makes its way through the ductwork, especially if your air filter is dirty or a cheap, inadequate model. Dust and vacuum your home at least twice a week. While you vacuum, turn the thermostat fan setting to FAN ON and leave it on for 15 minutes after you’re finished so that the HVAC filter can trap the particles sent airborne.

Protect Against Mold

Mold in the ductwork can cause serious health problems. Protect your home against mold by using ventilation fans in the kitchen and bathroom. Fix leaky faucets right away and remove mold and mildew from the shower as soon as they appear.

Schedule Inspections

The National Air Duct Cleaning Association (NADCA) recommends that you have your ducts inspected every three to five years to ensure they’re not a health hazard.

Duct Cleaning Services

If you find that your ducts need to be cleaned, it’s essential to hire a professional who strictly adheres to the NADCA’s standards for duct cleaning. If the ducts contain fiberglass lining or are constructed from fiberglass duct board, the professional duct cleaner should use the protocol outlined by the North American Insulation Manufacturer’s Association.

For more expert tips on preventing dirty ductwork or having your ducts inspected and cleaned, please contact Grizzle Heating & Air at 806-553-4690.

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