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Central HVAC Duct Cleaning Tips

How to Tell if Your Central Air Ducts Need to be Cleaned

Air ducts are parts of an HVAC system that deliver airflow to the different parts of your home. Over time, these ducts can collect dust and debris that inhibits the optimal functioning potential of your air system, and can lower the quality of the air that you breathe.

There are a few signs that can indicate that your air ducts are in need of cleaning:

  • Dust collects much more quickly in your home
  • You suffer from nasal and sinus congestion and allergies when you are in your home for extended periods of time
  • You notice a musty odor when using the furnace
  • Air flow seems limited to certain rooms

Trapped dust, pet hair, pollen, and even mold could be the cause of your clogged air system, and could be detrimental to your health. This is especially the case if you already suffer from breathing problems or moderate to severe allergies. If you experience the above signs, you should call a licensed and reliable AmeriServ HVAC technician to come out and inspect your heating and air system.

Many cleaning processes include using brushes to dislodge the debris and a specialized vacuum to remove it from the duct system entirely. Insulated fiber glass ducts are cleaned with brushes as well, but these are non-metallic and much softer. Fiber glass ducts in particular cannot be efficiently cleaned once mold has begun to grow, and instead must be entirely replaced, making regular maintenance even more important.

As important as it is to make sure your ducts aren’t clogged and dirty, it’s just as crucial to choose an HVAC company you can trust. Hiring technicians that are not fully-trained and licensed could mean being on the receiving end of messy or unprofessional work, which could create small leaks in your duct system. These leaks could, in turn, end up costing you more money later on.

In order to inspect your air ducts to see if they are in need of cleaning, or to see if they have been cleaned well (the ducts should be free of debris and shiny) by HVAC specialists, simply follow the directions below. Be sure to have a flashlight and specialized heat-resistant duct tape before you begin taking sections apart.

  • Go to the attic or the basement, as these are the places in your home with the most visible sections of ductwork, which are the large metal tubes that bring air from your units to the rest of your house.
  • Look for wet spots, which could signify a blockage that needs to be cleared. Likewise, tap the ducts and if the resulting sound isn’t hollow, it’s safe to assume that there’s something within the ducts clogging it.
  • You can detach the sections of your duct system yourself and clear them out on your own, but if there is mold or if the contaminants are extensive, it would be best to call an HVAC technician. Make sure to use the duct tape to securely seal any places you have removed.
  • Next, check the vent registers in your home. Some of these vents can be found on the walls close to the ceiling, and others may be found on the floor by your walls. Remove the covering (called grill plates) and look inside, using your flashlight to get a better view.
  • Look for build-up and debris, as well as bug or mice infestations. These infestations are accompanied by either a large amount of dead insects or rodent droppings.
  • Make sure to look for mold, too, which may require you to have ductwork replaced.

If there is more debris than you can clear out on your own, or there looks like there may be mold or an infestation, it would be wise to immediately contact an AmeriServ HVAC specialist. At AmeriServ, we put your safety and satisfaction as our top priority, so we urge you to take notice of any clues that your ducts need to be cleaned, and call us at the first sign of a problem.

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