What Are Air Ducts?

The air ducts in a house are essentially tubes that connect the HVAC system with air vents throughout the house. The HVAC system pulls air in through an intake vent and then either heats or cools that air. Then the system forces that cooled or heated air out through the ducts and through the air vents throughout the house in order to heat or cool the house.

Some people compare a home’s air ducts to lungs, since air passes through them. But a more accurate way to think about air ducts is that they’re like a house’s arteries. As long as our arteries stay clear and clean, our bodies get the nourishment they need and our organs function the way they should. But if our arteries start to become dirty or clogged, all kinds of problems can start to occur.

The same goes with air ducts. As long as our air ducts are clean and clear, the air that circulates throughout our homes is safe and healthy. But if our air ducts become dirty or clogged, toxins can be passed through our homes and our HVAC system can be forced to work harder than it should.

Doesn’t My HVAC System Have Air Filters?

HVAC units do usually have air filters inserted into them in order to cleanse the air that’s being pulled in through the intake vent. But over time, the air ducts themselves can accumulate dirt, dust, dust mites, mold spores, pollen, and anything else that could be floating in the air, all of which can easily pass through the air vents throughout the house and settle in the ducts when the system isn’t running. When the system turns on and air is forced back through the air ducts; that’s when those allergens and toxins can potentially be put back into circulation throughout the house.

Should Homeowners Worry About the Cleanliness of Air Ducts in a New House?

When a house is being built, the air ducts are normally installed very early in the process since they live under the floors and in the walls. Because they are installed so early, all kinds of dirt and dust can accumulate in them during the construction process. Drywall dust can build up, and so can cement dust, wood shavings, insulation dust, flooring debris, and the remnants of all kinds of other finishing work. Construction dust and debris can also get into the coils and motor of HVAC units, which can cause damage to the inner workings of the unit and also be spread through the air ducts at a later time. That’s why it’s so important to clean the air ducts, as well as the motor and coils in the HVAC units, in a newly built home, or any home that’s been under construction or renovation.

Can Dirt and Dust Damage An HVAC System?

Over time, the amount of dirt and dust that can build up in air ducts would astound most people. Clogged air ducts can lose as much as half of their efficiency over time just from the buildup of normal, everyday dust particles. Just as our hearts have to work harder, and can even shut down, if our arteries become clogged, our HVAC systems have to work harder, and can shut down, if their air passages become clogged. The cleaner a home’s air ducts are, the more efficient that home’s HVAC system is going to be, which over the long run will save money and be better for the environment. After all, what’s worse for a homeowner’s pocketbook, and for a community’s landfill, than having to prematurely replace a furnace or air conditioning unit?

How Often Should Air Ducts Be Cleaned?

Just as we make sure our floors and furniture surfaces are cleaned regularly, it’s best to put air duct cleaning on some kind of a regular schedule. How often air ducts get cleaned depend somewhat on what kind of environment a house is in. Houses in dessert locations or on the beach tend to accumulate a lot of dust. Houses in an urban environment can accumulate smog and dirt from highways and roads. Houses in the country or in the woods can accumulate pollen and animal dander. Also, in the spring and fall in areas where temperatures are comfortable, many people keep their windows open for extended periods of time, and don’t run their HVAC system regularly, which can cause allergens like pollen and pet dander to accumulate rapidly in air ducts.

In general, the EPA recommends cleaning the motor and coils of an HVAC system once a year. Some people who are more susceptible to allergies conduct air duct cleaning once a year also, at the same time they’re getting the motor and coils cleaned on their HVAC unit. Most professionals recommend cleaning the air ducts in most homes every 3 to 5 years, depending on how dirty the local environment is.

Why Choose Swan Heating & Air Conditioning?

We’re the leading local choice for air duct and HVAC cleaning services for a reason. Our high-powered equipment and professional technicians work quickly and efficiently. Our experience in the industry helps us to assess the overall health of a home’s HVAC system and make recommendations to homeowners that will help them get the longest and best possible use out of their furnace and air conditioning units.

If you’d like to schedule an appointment to have your air ducts cleaned, or even if you’d simply like more information about the air duct cleaning process, contact us! We look forward to serving you.