Four Signs it Might Be Time to Clean Your Air Ducts and What You Can Do to Clean Them

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 25 to 40 percent of the energy used for heating or cooling a home is wasted. In fact, the average spends nearly $2,000 on home utility bills. Heating and cooling account for the biggest portion of those high energy costs with 54 percent.

Another reason for the high energy costs is the buildup of contaminants in a home’s Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system. Contaminants and air pollutants such as dander, dust and chemicals are pulled into the HVAC system and are re-circulated five to seven times per day.

Over time, the constant re-circulation causes buildup in a house’s duct work and causes harm to your health. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, 80 percent of Americans are exposed to dust mites on a daily basis and 60 percent are exposed to pet dander, which can cause health problems for people who suffer from asthma and allergies.

To ensure you and your family are breathing clean air at home, homeowners should have air ducts cleaned every three to five years for maximum cooling and heating efficiency.

You might be asking, how do I know when it’s time to have my air ducts clean? There are several warning signs that will let you know when it’s time to get your air ducts clean and those include:

  • Higher Energy Bills: As has already been mentioned, most of a home’s energy costs go toward heating and cooling. If you open your monthly bill to see a spike in increasing usage, chances are there may be leaks or clogs in your duct system.
  • Debris: Dirt and debris around your vents is usually a sign that it’s time to get your air ducts clean. High levels of debris can cause the previously mentioned blockages and since air is re-circulated so often, a high level of debris means you’re probably breathing it in whether you know it or not.
  • Mold: Depending on the time of climate you live in, your home can be susceptible to mold exposure. Prolonged exposure to mold can cause a whole host of health problems including throat and skin irritation.
  • Respiratory Problems: It’s been established that having debris buildup and mold isn’t good for your health. If you notice an uptick in allergies, asthma issues or even sneezing, it may be time to get your air ducts clean. Ignoring the problem or failing to monitor it properly means you’re breathing in some potential harmful contaminants.

Now that signs of dirty ducts have been established, how do you go about cleaning your ducts?

Many professional duct cleaning companies can have your ducts up and running again to their fullest potential. If however you’re looking to get your air ducts clean as a DIY project, there are several steps involved.

  • Cover supply registers
  • Turn on the fan
  • Check your filter
  • Loosen any dust in the ducts
  • Clean the supply registers
  • Clean the return air registers
  • Shut off the fan and furnace
  • Clean out the blower compartment and return air boot
  • Replace the furnace filter

This guide provides a more detailed explanation of all the steps listed above, gives you a list of tools you’ll need to get the job done and other tips to get your air ducts clean.

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