When it comes to maintaining the HVAC system in your San Diego, CA home, it’s important to pay attention to your HVAC air ducts. After all, all of your conditioned air travels through these structures. Moreover, it picks up pathogens and particulates along the way. Dirty air ducts can leave you with a lower indoor air quality (IAQ), a battery of pervasive and unpleasant smells, and a host of uncomfortable symptoms. Professional air duct cleaning eliminates the many contaminants that get trapped in these spaces. Knowing when to scheduling duct cleaning service will optimize your HVAC equipment and protect the health of building residents.

The Need for Air Duct Cleaning Is a Contentious Subject

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), duct cleaning should be scheduled on an as-needed basis only. To save cash and avoid unnecessary treatments, homeowners are advised to wait until several signs of dirty air ducts manifest. These include:

  • Air registers and air vents that have visible coatings of grime
  • The need for increasingly frequent HVAC air filter changes
  • Unstable airflow or airflow obstructions
  • Thick coatings of dust on indoor surfaces

However, HVAC air duct cleaning is just as important for heating and cooling equipment as it is for building residents. These services limit the amount of stress that furnaces and air conditioners are subjected to by keeping air moving freely. This extends the lifespan of HVAC systems and reduces the likelihood of costly repairs. Waiting until airflow is already compromised won’t provide the greatest range of benefits.

The National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) recommends cleaning HVAC air ducts every three to five years. In most homes, this recommendation ensures that air ducts are cleaned before build-ups of dirt and other debris have the opportunity to affect either IAQs or overall HVAC system performance.

Protecting Your Manufacturer Warranties

When installed by licensed HVAC companies, heaters and air conditioners are protected by manufacturer warranties. These warranties last for up to five years and cover all replacements and repairs resulting from defective parts or manufacturing. However, they are mutually binding agreements with requirements for both parties. Just as manufacturers are responsible for paying for equipment faults and flaws, homeowners are required to take good care of their covered equipment by scheduling annual maintenance, performing routine filter changes, and more.

If you submit a claim for covered heater or AC repairs, your equipment manufacturer will determine whether or not the problems you’re experiencing are negligence-related. Evidence of dirty ductwork that’s diminishing airflow and causing system stress could leave you paying for otherwise covered repairs out of your own pocket. In extreme cases, it can also result in the automatic voidance of manufacturer protections. Thus, scheduling duct cleaning every three to five years rather than waiting to notice visible accumulations of debris is best.

Some Circumstances and Events Warrant Immediate Duct Cleaning

There are also times when scheduling professional duct cleaning service is an urgent matter, even if you’re already on a set duct cleaning schedule and have had these structures professionally treated within recent months. For instance, if you’ve had a massive insect or animal infestation in your HVAC ductwork, you’ll need professionals to clear your ducts out. When pests find their way into these systems, they leave behind feces, carcasses, exoskeletons, food remnants, and more. Some animals also leave behind body oils, pheromones, and other pungent scents that attract more of their kind. Eliminating their leavings will improve your IAQ, freshen your indoor air, and limit the likelihood of reinfestation.

If you ever have to use your air conditioner when the outside air is thick with wildfire smoke, you’ll want to schedule duct cleaning service as soon as the air clears. Although closing your outdoor intake damper and setting your AC to recirculate mode will limit the amount of smoke that gets inside, it won’t keep your air conditioner or air ducts entirely smoke-free. In these instances, professional duct cleaning will eliminate smoke odors and oily smoke residues that would otherwise compromise your air quality and negatively impact the respiratory health of building residents.

There are also circumstances and events that warrant more frequent duct cleanings. When active construction is started in your neighborhood, you might notice a dramatic increase in indoor dust. If you decide to redo the landscape in your backyard, earth-moving or excavation activities could leave you with a noticeably lower IAQ. To combat the free-floating dust that enters your home, you can run your HVAC system and change your air filters often. However, having your air ducts professionally cleaned is the only way to reliably eliminate any particulates that get trapped in ducting.

Schedule Duct Cleaning to Better Support Resident Health

In some households, it’s best to schedule air duct cleaning every two to three years rather than waiting for signs of dirty ducts to manifest or letting five years pass by. This may be the case in your home if any residents live with allergies, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or any other respiratory illness. With professionally cleaned air ducts, you’ll have less dirt, dander, hair, and other allergens triggering these ailments or exacerbating their symptoms. Frequent duct cleanings can also be beneficial for newborns, age-in-place seniors, and those with terminal illnesses.

Dirty Air Ducts or Ductwork That’s Reached the End of Its Lifespan

HVAC air ducts last between 10 and 15 years. Given that the expected lifespan of these structures is comparable to that of most heaters and air conditioners, many HVAC companies recommend replacing them during furnace and AC replacement projects. Over the course of your ductwork’s entire lifespan, you’ll probably need to have it cleaned just two to four times.

If your ductwork is between 10 and 15 years of age and if there are multiple indications of dirty ducts throughout the building, having these features replaced could be the better choice. Aging ductwork often has holes, loose connections, and other leaks that allow unfiltered air to seep in. Age-related duct damage lowers indoor air quality, decreases the efficiency of HVAC systems, and causes heater and air conditioner stress.

Mold and Mildew Mitigation and Prevention

If you have an active mold infestation in your home, HVAC air duct cleaning isn’t a suitable mitigation strategy on its own. However, professional duct cleaning is definitely a worthwhile addition to your mold mitigation plan. In fact, it could be essential for ensuring that treated mold problems don’t rapidly recur.

Accumulations of dirt and debris obstructing airflow within ductwork can cause humidity problems. This in turn creates the ideal environment for mold and mildew to flourish. With ample moisture and plenty of particulates to feed on, fungi can thrive unchecked in these systems indefinitely. Having air ducts cleaned every three to five years is a great way to prevent mold issues in homes that aren’t struggling this problem already. For enhanced prevention in high-risk living environments, homeowners can additionally add UV light sanitization equipment or other integrated IAQ accessories.

Contact Comfort Bros Heating, Air & Plumbing for Air Duct Cleaning

We help residents of San Diego, CA protect their homes and health while saving money. We offer heating and cooling system installation, maintenance, and repair services. We also provide duct cleaning service, indoor air quality solutions, and preventative maintenance plans. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, contact Comfort Bros Heating, Air & Plumbing today.

Meet the Author
Nicholas Gildark
Nicholas Gildark

Nicholas Gildark is a San Diego native who comes from a tight knit family and enjoys spending time with them. Nicholas is engaged to his beautiful fiance Allison Velasquez. The two of them recently purchased a home.
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