The heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system in a home or workplace not only delivers the air that helps regulate the temperature and humidity, but it can also determine the quality of the air that you are breathing. That’s because the outdoor air that is drawn through the HVAC system, and recirculated are filled with dust, dirt and other particles that compromise the quality of your environment.
That’s why clean air ducts are so vital to keeping your HVAC system operating at peak efficiency, but unfortunately, a lot of people just don’t understand how dirty ducts can affect their long-term health, or even how to go about having their ducts inspected.
Is Your AC Making You Sick?
If you or someone in your family has persistent allergies or respiratory problems that don’t seem to have an identifiable trigger, you may want to ask this question: Is your air-conditioning system making you sick?
To understand how this could be possible, it’s worth understanding the basics of how ducts work in an HVAC system.
According to HVAC for Beginners, a duct system provides a controlled path for airflow throughout the home. The system can be made out of sheet, metal, fiberglass ductboard, insulated plastic, or cloth.” (1)
Ducts are simply an air distribution system to circulate cool and warm air through a home or commercial facility.
A duct system has a supply side that distributes conditioned air through the vents in each room, and a return side that sucks air back into the air handler of the HVAC system so that it can be conditioned again and circulated back through the supply side. Ducts are typically rectangular or circular.
The problem is that all that circulating air draws in pollutants such as dust, pet hair, bacteria, dust mites, and pollen, which can become trapped in the ductwork, including the vents, motors and coils.
Once trapped in the ducts, these pollutants are expelled through the vents, filling a home or workplace with harmful pollutants. And the bigger problem is that dirty ducts can go unnoticed for years, which just increases the level of airborne contaminants.
And these contaminants can worsen asthma symptoms, and make allergies worse if they are not eliminated. That’s why clean air ducts are so important.
Signs Your Air Ducts Need Cleaning
But since ducts are out of sight and hard for a non-professional to inspect, what are some of the signs your air ducts need cleaning?
According to Angie’s List, one sure sign that your ducts are dirty is the visible buildup of dust, pet hair and dust on the outside of your air vents. (2)
Another sign your ducts need cleaning is if dust blows through the vents when the air conditioning comes on. That means the debris from the ducts is forcing its way through the vents, which is not a good thing because all of those pollutants are now circulating in your home.
You can also check the condition of your air filters to see if they are extremely dirty, which could mean that they are working much harder to trap dirt from the duct system. Furthermore, you can also check to see if there is reduced airflow from your vents, which is a sign that not enough air is blowing through the ducts because of dirt blocking the air filters or otherwise restricting airflow.
Choosing an Air Duct Cleaner
When choosing an air duct cleaner, one of the most important considerations is to select a company that is a member of the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA).
This association requires all members to have a certified Air System Cleaning Specialist on staff that has passed the NADCA certification exam. (3)
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also suggests that you don’t hire any company that claims to be endorsed by the EPA, as the agency does not certify air duct cleaners. In addition, the EPA strongly recommends that you check the references of all prospective air duct-cleaning companies and that you obtain a written agreement that details the total cost and exact process of the cleaning before signing the contract. (4)
Benefits of Air Duct Cleaning
Clean air ducts can provide your home with multiple benefits. First, it ensures that any residual moisture in the ducts is removed, preventing the formation of mold, which is not only a health hazard, but is very expensive to remove once it grows in the HVAC system. Second, it improves the efficiency of your HVAC system, which can save money on your power bills. Third, it helps improve indoor air quality by removing harmful pollutants. One other thing you can do is install high-efficiency air filters to ensure that a majority of the airborne contaminants in your home are eliminated.
Camfil air products can be used to filter and clean the air in any indoor environment. Our products represent the very best in air filtration technology and innovation. From replacement filters, capable of removing sub-micron sized particles and gases, to complete air circulation and filtration systems, every product is backed with more than 50 years of experience.
Other Resources for you
- To learn about Indoor Air Quality and Volatile Organic Compounds in our Previous blog post
- Read our blog post: Good Air Filter For Customers and Employees
Camfil USA Air Filters