How Do I Know If My Ducts Need To Be Cleaned?

December 10, 2019

What are ducts?

What Are Ducts?In your attic, there are large silver tubes or air ducts which transfer air from inside your home to the HVAC in the attic to be cooled or heated then pushing it back through the tubes (ducts) to the grills around your home.

A dirty duct is when it has dust, pet hair, construction dust and other airborne particles built up around the inside of it. The build-up happens over time, each time the system runs it makes some of the particles airborne they are cycling around your home and back into the system.

What are the signs that my ducts should be cleaned?

Signs That My Ducts Should Be CleanedSigns that you can check for that point toward a duct cleaning:

  • Do you have dust building up on surfaces around your home?
  • Do you have dust build-up on the top edges of ceiling fans?
  • Do you have dust build up on your grills in some or many of your rooms?
  • Do you see a dust bunny below your return grill, the large grill typically located in a hallway below the HVAC in the attic?
  • Do several people have allergies inside the home but not outside?

Other Factors to Consider

Other factors to consider:
  • Did a prior homeowner have lots of pets?
  • Have you had construction or renovation work carried out in your home with the system running – sheetrock dust is the type of particle that gets carried into your system and ducts?
  • Has the system run without a filter for a month plus, or for an extended period with a dirty or clogged filter?
  • Are the ducts 10 plus years since they were installed or cleaned?

Check For Dust Build UpIf you said yes to any of these questions, then you need to check for build-up. In your furnace area pull out the filter with the system off and look at the plenum to see how much dust and dirt are inside the furnace, return air plenum. If it’s dirty there will be build-ups of grey. Next, take a flashlight and shine into your grills to see if you can see dust build-up on the grill fins or inside the duct.

What if I don’t clean them?

If you have dirty ducts and you don’t want to have them cleaned right now or never. The ducts will not get cleaner by themselves the build will continue and it will continue to be circulated each time the system runs. It’s a personal choice to have it done or not.

The long-term risk is that mechanical parts inside your blower if you can see dust build up in the return plenum then it will be building upon the blower wheel and other parts around the furnace. The blower will slowly plug up and move less air over time., resulting in low airflow and leading to other system issues.

The other part of the system which is sensitive to dirt build is the evaporator coil, which has freon running through it to take heat from the inside of your home and dissipate it outside. The coil is similar in makeup to the radiator grill in a car. Once dirt starts to build upon the surface it restricts the airflow reducing the cooling capacity of the system.

How long does it take?

A rule of thumb is approximately 4-6 hours per HVAC – but depends on the number and size of ducts and layout of a home.

What is the Southern Comfort Mechanical process?

1. The lead technician will walk the home with you and determine the sequence.
If there are ducts located in hard to reach places discuss the plan on how to address the duct. Ask permission if an object or piece of furniture needs to be moved
2. Lay drop cloths around the area to be worked first, they moved as work progresses
3. Remove the grills from around your home to gain access to the ducts
4. Run a rotating brush with a vacuum attached through the duct until it reaches the HVAC or a branch point in the duct. The rotating brush agitates the surface to break the dust and build up off the surface to be removed with the attached vacuum head.
5. Move the equipment to the attic and open the HVAC unit (Licensed HVAC) clean branch lines that could not be reached, clean any ducts that were too long to be cleaned from one end.
6. Clean out the inside of the furnace
7. Vacuum the inside of the supply and return plenums
8 Reassembled the HVAC unit
9. Re- attach the grills around the home
10. Run the system and confirm operation
11. Remove the drop clothes, and clean up
12. Walk the home with owner

What are the benefits of having duct cleaning?

Having ducts cleaned will improve the quality of the air and peace of mind. The other benefits will be less dust around your home as it’s been removed. Reduced allergies and your system will run more efficiently as the furnace and evaporator are clean, with the clean ducts the air will flow better from reduced drag.

If you’re interested in professional duct cleaning services, give Southern Comfort Mechanical a call today!

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