Most people never consider what comes through their home’s air ducts. Unfortunately, it’s not always your garden variety of dust and dirt that you breathe in whenever your furnace or air conditioner is blowing air.
Indoor air pollution can come from pets, cigarette smoke, water damage, weather, mold, and even remodeling projects, with negative effects to those with compromised immune systems and allergies. These pollutants circulate throughout your house approximately 5 to 7 times a day, building up in your ductwork, according to the National Air Duct Cleaners Association.
Contaminants in a home’s HVAC system cause it to work harder and shorten its life. Up to 40 percent of the energy used for heating or cooling a home is wasted, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. A clean HVAC system doesn’t have to work as hard, uses less energy and saves you money.
So, how often should you clean your air ducts? NADCA recommends every three to five years, or annually if you have allergies or asthma. The previously mentioned causes, plus how often you clean your home, will also dictate how often to clean your ducts. Check your HVAC system filter and your air return covers and ductwork. If they’re covered in dust, it’s likely time to have your air ducts cleaned.
Always hire a professional air quality company to clean your home’s air ducts to ensure the job is done right. A poor cleaning job can loosen contaminants or damage your HVAC system, making your indoor air quality worse than before, according to the EPA.