Spring Cleaning for your Atmosphere: 5 Reasons to Have your Air Ducts Cleaned

clean air ductsAs Spring finally arrives in Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin, we're all ready for a little cleaning and eager to get those windows open for some fresh air. And speaking of fresh air, this may be just the time to clean the ducts in your home or business. Air circulation is limited in winter months and (in buildings without central air conditioning) it may be the only season where the ducts see serious use. This creates excellent conditions for dust buildup and a good cleaning can ensure you'll have pure air throughout the warmer months. Let's look at five great reasons to clean your air ducts, then look at how to get the best results.

1. To deal with visible dust

If you can see dust on register covers or see it in the ducts after removing the covers, imagine what it’s like deeper in your ductwork. It's time for a cleaning.

2. To eliminate unseen dust and contaminants

A typical family creates about 40 pounds of dust annually. But dust isn't the only problem. Other air pollutants (such as cleaning chemicals, pet dander, etc.) are recirculated by the HVAC system 5 to 7 times each day. Some of them inevitably settle in the ducts, but a change in conditions can send them back out into the living space. Eliminating this reservoir of contaminants will keep them out of your living areas and your lungs.

3. As a failsafe after water damage

If an ice dam, winter runoff or some other leak has resulted in water damage at your home or business, it's best to bring in professionals to handle the repairs. When they do so, they can check on and deal with the following possibilities:
  • Weakening in support structures the HVAC system depends on
  • Damage to or contamination of the system itself
  • Mold growing in or being spread by the HVAC system (see below)
Water damage is truly insidious, so if in doubt, have the ducts cleaned.

4. To eliminate mold before it harms health or structures

If you've noticed mold on any surfaces in the building, you can be certain spores from that colony have entered the air ducts. Mold can cause serious health problems up to and including fungal lung infections or poisoning from mycotoxins, but simple allergic reactions are a far more common response to mold spores. These can range from irritated skin and eyes to a runny nose, sinus problems, hoarseness and throat irritation, headaches, wheezing or chronic coughing and sneezing. Mold can also act as a trigger for migraines and asthma attacks. If anyone spending time in the building is allergic, asthmatic or has a weakened immune system, preventing the spread of spores should be a top priority. All HVAC components, not just the ducts, should be inspected for contamination. Keep in mind that normal airflow or a leaking duct can spread mold spores to areas where they can grow on—and begin consuming and weakening—structural materials.

5. To reduce heating and cooling costs

The Department of Energy notes that 25% to 40% of the energy used to heat or cool a home is wasted, costing at least $300 per year. Cleaner ducts are more efficient, reducing these costs. Glenn Fellman, Executive Director of the Indoor Air Quality Association, has described the HVAC system as “the heart and circulatory system” of a building and added, "If any of it is gunked up with dust or mold, the core system isn't going to function correctly.” Ready to clean some “cholesterol” out of your duct system? Follow these tips to choose the right contractor:
  • Check their references, licensing and insurance
  • Beware of gimmicky offers, especially from companies that haven't been around long
  • Ask what kind of equipment they use. Companies that specialize in HVAC service or disaster recovery will have specialized equipment that does a through job.
  • Get their rates and fees up front and in writing.
Follow these tips, and you'll be able to swing into spring breathing easier than before. Save $25 on Air Duct Cleaning - Free Coupon


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