The heating and cooling system in your home works year-round to keep you and your family comfortable. The ductwork plays an important part of the HVAC system by delivering conditioned air into rooms and then returning it back to the unit where it is reconditioned. The air conditioner’s use over the course of years may cause openings or cracks in the ducts to appear. Getting an air duct inspection on a regular basis will keep it operating as expected. If you’ve never had an air duct inspection completed on your home, you’re probably wondering what it is. We’ll explain what you should know about an air duct inspection and why it’s important in this article.
Identifying Dirty Air Ducts
Debris will almost certainly build up inside air ducts over time. You may see visible signs of this when looking at your registers and air vents. Dust and other debris flowing out is an indicator of dirty ductwork. There is also the possibility of clogging that is in the duct system. An air duct inspection will identify how dirty the system is. Common problems with air ducts include signs of mold and rodent droppings. There could be an infestation problem if rodent droppings and dead insects are present. An exterminator should be contacted immediately in these cases.
If it has been identified that you have dirty air ducts through an inspection, getting your ductwork professionally cleaned is recommended. Professionals have the necessary equipment to properly clean a home’s ductwork. Having clean ductwork will improve the indoor air quality and help your HVAC system run more efficiently.
During an air duct cleaning, a service provider will generally do the following activities:
- Open access doors or ports to enable the entire system to be inspected and cleaned.
- Check for asbestos-containing materials prior to cleaning
- Use a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) vacuuming equipment or vacuum that exhausts particulates outside of the home
- Protect the furnishings and carpet of a household
Probing for Leaks in Ductwork
Another common problem that a professional will look for during an air duct inspection is examining for holes or leaks. You may have noticed an indicator of this problem if the air volume in the home is lower than usual or there’s uneven airflow in different rooms.
Ensuring that the ducts are sealed in your home is important for many reasons, including:
- Keeping a constant temperature of conditioned air that flows into different rooms
- Minimizing the blowing of dirt and dust into rooms
- Reducing additional heating and cooling costs as a result of wasted energy
- Keeping unwanted insects and other critters from the ducts, thereby limiting odors
- Stopping moisture from flowing into ducts
- Improving air quality by discouraging mildew and mold growth within the ducts
During an inspection, the ductwork that has leaks or holes is identified. The inspector can then determine if the leaky ducts can be sealed or it’s necessary to have them replaced.
Assessing the Need for Duct Repair
If you have noticed certain issues with your air ducts, you may need to repair or replace the ducts. Some signs that you may have experienced include:
- Rattling each time your heating and cooling system is operating
- The heating and cooling system is not working properly
- Unexpected jumps in your monthly energy bills
- Sagging ductsigns
Contaminants will build up in air ducts over the course of time. The HVAC system will pull in these contaminants and re-circulate them several times a day. Air filters aren’t capable of removing 100 percent of these contaminants. As this dust and other contaminants are re-circulated through the system, they will eventually build up in the ductwork.
Common contaminants that build up in ductwork include:
- Dander – This is particularly common if you have pets in the home. Dander is dead skin cells and hair that both people and pets shed.
- Dust – This contaminant is composed of fibers, minerals, dead skin cells, and other natural environmental materials.
- Pests – Insects, rodents, and other pests will make themselves at home in air ducts. They are attracted to the cool air during the summer and warm air in the winter.
- Mold – Mold spores occur in every home, but once they colonize or reach dangerous levels they become a health hazard.
- Pollen and other allergens – Airborne allergens can easily collect in air ducts that are both inside and outside the home.
Air ducts are not the only part of an HVAC system that gets dirty over time. The filter, blower, heat exchanger, cooling coil, supply ducts, and supply ducts are common HVAC parts that can have contaminant build-up.
Inside Air Ducts
Looking at the outside of your air ducts, you may notice signs of a hole or damage. But during an air duct inspection, a professional will look inside your air ducts. According to the EPA, there is research that indicates people spend almost 90 percent of their time indoors. Scientific evidence has grown over the years that suggest homes and other buildings are more polluted than outdoor air. Even in large, industrialized cities, this seems to be the case.
There are many health risks associated with air pollution. In homes, offices, and other buildings, the pollutants that are built up most commonly are inside air ducts.
How Frequently Should You Get Your Ducts Inspected?
You should get your ducts inspected if you have noticed signs that there is something wrong, such as hearing a rattling noise or smelling a strange odor. Otherwise, homeowners should have their ductwork inspected every three to five years. Once you have your ductwork professionally cleaned, it won’t need to be cleaned again for at least five years.
Call Presidential to Schedule an Air Duct Inspection
When you’re ready to have your air ducts inspected, count on the professionals at Presidential Heating and Air. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.