How Do I Know If My Air Ducts Need to Be Cleaned?


If your air ducts and vents look dirty, they probably are, meaning its probably time and that your Air Ducts need to cleaned, mechanical components inspected and cleaned, and filters changed.

In some cases, as much as 40% of your power bill can come from the HVAC system. An increase in your power bill may be another indicator that your ducts and related parts need cleaning. A clogged heating or air conditioning system makes the motor work harder to move air through the building. This uses more energy and ultimately, may cost more.

Promoting & Maintaining Good Health with Clean Air Ducts Need to be a Priority

Your heating and air conditioning system is the “lungs” of your home, office or industrial workplace. The air ducts in the average home accumulate up to 40 pounds of dust and debris each year, according to the NADCA. This debris must be removed to ensure healthy living and working conditions.

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Clogged air ducts can provide a breeding ground for mold, bacteria and viruses. Other carbon-based volatile organic compounds find their way into the HVAC system along with pet dander. These contaminates can lead to major respiratory problems. Dirty ducts and filters can make the indoor environment worse for people with allergies.

Other symptoms that suggest your air ducts need cleaning include:

  • Family members or workers sneezing and coughing
  • Stale odors in the air
  • Stuffy atmosphere in the room(s)

These symptoms suggest that air is not circulating properly. Rooms may be overheated or not cooled enough, depending on the season.

Spring is a good time to check your HVAC system and prepare it for pollen season. This is especially important in the Virginia area where dogwood and other plants release pollen into the air.

If In Doubt – Call professionals to Clean Your Air Ducts

Cleaning air ducts and the HVAC system is a job for professional, certified specialists. Although you can change your air filters and dust the registers, the professional HVAC mechanic must open the system to inspect it. Any damaged parts must be replaced. Cracked ducts and joints will leak air and contaminates can build up in those areas.

A Certified Indoor Environmentalists (CIE) and/or Certified Industrial Hygienists (CIH) will access and clean the supply air plenum which is directly downstream from the air handling unit. It must be free of mold, moisture, stains and dust before it is returned. Mold, if left, will grow in a moist environment and could cause health problems. The source of mold buildup must be found and eliminated. This is a reason for checking and cleaning HVAC systems after heavy winter and spring rains.

The registers, grilles and other components must be carefully cleaned and properly replaced so that there are no leaks. Metal or fiberglass ductwork is carefully cleaned on both the intake and return systems. The heat exchangers should also be cleaned.

The blower motor should be taken apart and the blades examined. Blades should be free of oil that can attract dust and other contaminates. The blower motor housing must also be completely cleaned. Everything must be replaced and sealed according the unit’s specifications.

Contact SANAIR Indoor Air Quality, serving the Newport News area since 1994, for cleaning complete HVAC systems for your home or business. SANAIR has a team of trained and certified professional technicians who use only EPA approved products for cleaning air ducts and your entire system.

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