5 Signs It's Time For Residential Duct Cleaning

Air ducts circulate the air in your home. Everything in your air, from dust to dander, also goes through your ventilation system.

Did you know the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends residential duct cleaning when there are mold or pest problems.

Residential duct cleaning helps maintain your HVAC system. It keeps you from breathing in allergens and contaminants like mold.

Below are five indicators that you need air duct cleaning.

1. Mold

Mold is a health issue for everyone. Breathing in the mold can make you sick. It can also aggravate other conditions. People with allergies, asthma, and other respiratory problems will react strongly to mold.

Mold often grows in your air ducts because of moisture that builds up. Your home’s duct system is dark and moist. This makes it a hospitable environment for mold. If airflow is restricted, the mold will flourish.

Mold and mildew are problems from a health perspective. It can also cause additional bacteria to grow in the ducts that can affect your HVAC system.

Visible Mold

If you can see mold growing on your air ducts or registers, you should call for residential duct cleaning. The same holds true if you find mold any other place in your house.

No matter where it starts, your HVAC system will carry it through to every room in your home.

Mildewy Smell

Even if you can’t see mold growing, you may be able to smell it. If your house has a sour smell, you most likely have mold. Other ways to describe it are like a mildew or ammonia smell.

If it smells worse when the heat or air conditioning runs, don’t waste time. Call for an HVAC specialist to take a look.

2. Visible Dust

If you can see dust or even dirt coming out of your vents while the system is on, you’ve probably got quite a mess in there. Your HVAC system is blowing dust into your home.

If you dust your furniture regularly but still have dust over your tabletops and counters within days, there is dust in your ducts. The more dust and debris in your ducts, the more in your home. And, the more you will be vacuuming, dusting, and scrubbing to keep your home clean.

Vent Covers and Registers

If you notice dust around the cracks of your return registers and vents, there’s a good buildup of dust in your duct system.

Open the vent covers. If you see matted dirt, dust, or other debris, it’s time to inquire about residential duct cleaning.

The longer you put off having your ductwork cleaned, the more dust is going to accumulate. If there’s that much dirt where you can see it, imagine how much gunk is collecting throughout the system.

Clogged Air Filter

If you keep up with your HVAC maintenance, then you change your filter at least every six months. If you do that but still find that dirt and dust have clogged your air filter, you need the ducts cleaned.

If you don’t change your air filter as you should, then you could be creating the problem. A clogged filter means restricted air flow. This allows dust to settle and build up in your air ducts.

Dusty HVAC Unit

Take a look at the inside of your furnace or air conditioning unit. If there is dust buildup in the furnace compartment or AC coils, you have too much dust in your ducts.

This impacts your system’s efficiency. It can also shorten the life of your unit.

3. Rodents or Insects

Rodents, insects, and other pests can find their way into your ductwork. They often chew or tunnel into your ventilation system. This can lead to an offending smell in your home.

Some pests can spread disease. This isn’t a problem you will be able to put off handling.

Visible Signs of Pests

If you see any signs of pests anywhere in your home, there’s a good chance they’ve also been hanging out in your air ducts. They are leaving behind waste and other leftovers behind.

Take a flashlight and look inside your vents. You may notice the telltale signs of pests, which are nests and droppings.

Bad Odor

If you smell something like rotten garbage, you might have a deceased animal in your system. It could just be a mouse or injured bird that made its way inside. Or it could be part of a larger pest problem.

What to Do About Pests

If you have a pest problem, first get rid of the pests. Call a pest control service if necessary. Then, you will need to clear the ductwork after the pests are taken care of.

Have a duct cleaning professional come out as soon as possible. They can remove any deceased animals or insects. After that, they can clean your duct system and remove any waste or other debris left behind.

4. Increased Energy Bill

If your electric bill has spiked, but there’s nothing to explain the change, there may be something going on with your HVAC.

If you have already tried the typical things like changing the filter and adjusting your thermostat, then there is another reason your HVAC is working harder than it should.

If that reason is reduced air flow, you have a problem. For instance, your motor or blower fan may clog with dirt. It’s using more energy to run, which raises your monthly bill.

Your ductwork may be the source of the buildup. Your system is overworking itself to compensate.

Now would be the time to call for residential duct cleaning and restore your system to its optimal performance.

5. Increased Allergies

Almost everyone suffers from seasonal allergies. If you find that your allergies are not easing off as the allergy season ends, there may be a secondary issue. If you are still having symptoms like sneezing, sore throat, and itchy eyes, your home’s air ducts may be the cause.


Like dust, allergens collect inside your ventilation system. Every time you run the air, the system redistributes pollen and other allergens throughout your home.

The best way to rid your home of allergens is to have the ducts cleaned.

Poor Air Quality

If dust also clogs your ducts, your system can’t efficiently cycle fresh air. Allergens can build up in the ducts, and thus in your home. Between the excess dust and allergens, you may be in a never-ending allergy season.

Pet Dander

Four-legged pets are hard on your ventilation system. Shedding and dander absorb into your air filters and through your ductwork. On top of that, indoor-outdoor pets bring outside particles in with them.

Guests with pet allergies will react even when your pet is not in the room. The dander and allergens circulate throughout your house.

For those with other allergies, everything your pet brings in from the yard is also circulating through the air in your house.

Having your air ducts cleaned will help clear the air of these allergens.

Schedule Your Residential Duct Cleaning

If you have lived in your home for several years without having the air ducts cleaned, it’s time to stop putting that off.

Dirt and debris in your ductwork limit the efficiency of your heating and air conditioning system. Mold, mildew, and allergens also lurk in there, threatening your family’s health.

If you are in the La Crescenta area and interested in having your duct system cleaned, please contact us.