Most people don’t give the air ducts that run through their home, carrying hot or cold air to your living spaces (depending on the season), much thought. In truth, ducts that are properly installed and right for your home and your climate should last a good long while without paying it a ton of attention.
That said, regular inspections by your HVAC technician are a must to ensure that ducts are well maintained and functioning properly. Eventually, you will also want to spring for overall air duct cleaning.
Unfortunately, this is a service that many homeowners have never even heard of, much less contemplated undertaking. This could be because they don’t understand the hidden dangers lurking in their ducting. Naturally, dust is bound to settle in your ducts over time, but what else is blowing around in your living spaces every time you turn on the heat or air conditioning?
Dirt and Grime
Something you may not know about central air is that it can create condensation. The next time you have the AC running in the summer, go to the attic or outside structure where your AC unit is housed. You’ll notice a disparity in the heated outside air and the cold air being pumped into your house.
The temperature inside the ducts versus outside could lead to condensation in your ductwork, especially if it’s not properly insulated. When this mixes with dust it could create a clinging mass of dirt and grime in your ducts that builds up over time, impacting airflow, air quality, and potentially even your health.
Mold is another common problem in ductwork that suffers from condensation. In case you didn’t know, every home plays host to a variety of mold spores. They’re relatively harmless unless they start to colonize.
For mold to grow, a certain environment must be present. Most types of mold tend to flourish in warm, moist environments. Ducts could therefore serve as an ideal environment for mold, which is why you should have your system inspected regularly.
Mold can be responsible for all kinds of respiratory disorders and other ailments, especially in children and the elderly. So if unexplained respiratory problems are common in your home, make sure to test your air ducts for mold.
Houses are not airtight, so it’s only natural that dust, dirt, pollen, and other allergens would get into your ducts. The problem is that they get blown into your breathable air every time you turn on the furnace or AC unit. With proper filters and regular maintenance you can keep such issues to a minimum.