Forced-air heating and cooling systems are usually trumped as the most effective and fastest way to heat and cool your home. However, the ducts on which they rely can develop problems. One common problem is dirty air ducts, which is why you should have your air ducts cleaned about once every three to five years, and if you're still not sure if it's really necessary, check out these four big benefits of having your air ducts routinely cleaned.
While it is uncommon, you can develop mold in your heating and cooling ducts. This occurs when condensation develops inside them, creating a moist environment. Mold exist in just about every home, and the CDC has no guidelines regarding how much mold is too much, but even a bit of normal mold may cause irritation to people with allergies or breathing complications like asthma. If you have a musty smell coming from your ducts, it's a warning sign you may have mold.
If black mold develops in your air ducts, it can be dangerous to everyone and everything living in the home. This type of mold is toxic and causes many dangerous symptoms that affect your neurological, respiratory, circulatory, immune and other systems. Common symptoms include difficulty breathing, nose bleeds, stuffy nose, vomiting blood, eye inflammation and dermatitis.
Improves Indoor Air Quality
Despite the air filter in your systems, particles eventually get into the air ducts. When enough particles gather in the ducts they start to push into your living spaces and affect your indoor air quality. This can cause irritations like itchy eyes and runny nose for everyone, but it is worse for people with allergies. Allergens like pollen and pet dander can get pushed all though the house, making allergies worse when you're inside your house vs. outside.
People with breathing problems like asthma and COPD can also benefit from improved indoor air quality. Dust mites are one of the most common triggers of asthma and COPD attacks, and as your system pushes dust into your breathing air, it can worsen breathing complications.
Another problem that occurs as dust gathers in your ducts is it actually reduces the efficiency of the systems. Your ducts are a certain width that is perfect for forcing air throughout the home. As dust and cobwebs collect in the ducts, they make it harder for the air to flow by making the opening smaller or adding obstacles that hinder air flow.
About 25 to 40 percent of the energy your systems use to heat or cool gets wasted, and one reason is because of dirty ducts. They cause your systems to have to work harder to adequately heat and cool your home. This wastes energy and money, but it also puts unnecessary strain on the system, which could cause it to wear down faster.
Finds and Removes Rodent and Insect Infestations
One last reason you should get your air ducts routinely cleaned is to check and remove infestations. While you may not realize it, you could have a colony of rodents or insects living in your ducts. Depending on the type of insect, this could lead to many problems, such as damage to your home or the spread of disease.
Rodents are also dangerous if they are living in your air ducts. Not only can they spread disease (as well as their fleas) if they bit or get into your food, but they leave droppings in your ducts. As more droppings collect, they allow toxic chemicals to get pushed into your breathing air when you use the furnace or air conditioner.
Dirty air ducts can reduce the efficiency of your furnace or central air conditioner system, but more importantly, they can affect the health of your family. If you haven't had your air ducts cleaned in a while, it's time to do so. Get in touch with a contractor like Anytime Plumbing Services if you have specific questions about the functionality of your heating and cooling system.