Over time when air ducts are not cleaned, it becomes the perfect condition for rodents, insects, bacteria, mold, dust mites, debris and other sorts of contaminants to make it their home. Consequently, all this build up poses a serious threat to your health and your loved ones health, and could potentially worsen if any of you suffer from respiratory issues.
It’s normal for your air ducts to get dirty over a period of time and it is recommended that you get it cleaned as often as you can to rid your home of these contaminants. We don’t want to worry you, but it is vital that you keep your air ducts cleaned and maintained.
You’ve cleaned your air duct and now the next step is to make sure that you can prevent your air duct from being contaminated.
How to detect air duct contamination
When you think of the word contamination you might start feeling a little scared or worried. The key is to find out how to detect air duct contamination. Finding out the problem with your air duct will help you in figuring out how to solve the problem.
- Unscrew the vents or duct covers and check for visible mold growth and water leaks. The great condition for mold to grow in is a wet and humid environment.
- Check for traces of vermin. This can be anything from foul smells, to droppings, and anything that looks like it’s been chewed on.
- Check for excess buildup of debris, dust, and other particles.
- The main part of the ductwork is not visible, so we advise you to hire the service of a professional for a complete and thorough inspection.
- Identifying what you see in your air duct is mold or something else that is potentially harmful is tricky. Reach out to a professional so that they can ascertain the problem.
How you can prevent air duct contamination
We’re going to provide you with a series of guides to make sure that you are ready and prepared to prevent air duct contamination.
Prevent dirt from entering the system
- Use the highest efficiency air filter that is recommended by the manufacturer of your HVAC system
- Change the filters in your air duct regularly. The filterr’s are user-replaceable and are available off-the-shelf, so make sure to check your air duct frequently from dust build up.
- Make sure you do not have any missing filters and that air cannot bypass the filter through gaps around the holder of the filter.
- If you’re getting your HVAC systems checked for another reason, ask your provider to clean the cooling coils and the drain pans.
- If there is construction, renovation work or any other work that produces dust in your home, seal off the supply and return registers. Make sure to clean up the dust in your air duct before operating it.
- Vacuum your home regularly and use a high efficiency vacuum (HEPA) cleaner.
Prevent ducts from getting wet
There should be no moisture present in the ducts as this could be the cause of biological growth such as mold in your air ducts. Controlling the moisture is an effective way to prevent this from happening.
Moisture can enter the air duct system from leaks or if the system was not properly installed. Condensation, which occurs when the surface temperature is lower than the dew point temperature of the surrounding air, is a factor in moisture contamination in the system.
It is difficult to control moisture but is achievable through these steps:
- Repair any leaks or water damage immediately.
- Pay extra attention to cooling coils. Cooling coils are designed to remove water from the air and is a major source of moisture contamination of the system that leads to the growing of mold.
- Condensate the pan drains properly. If there is a presence of standing water and/or debris, this is an indication that there is a problem and needs resolving as soon as possible.
- Check that the ducts are thoroughly sealed and insulated in every non-air conditioned area, like the attic. This prevents moisture from condensation from getting into the system and is critical for the system to work as intended.
- If you are getting your air conditioning system replaced make sure that the unit is the proper size and that all ducts are sealed at the joints. A unit that is too big will cycle on and off frequently, which will result in poor moisture removal. This is especially evident in areas with high humidity.
Use efficient air filters
Every home deserves an efficient air filter to make sure that the air ducts are not contaminated. Quality air filters take as much stale air out of the rooms for a better flow and freshness. Not only is freshness assured but air filters can help to remove the small particles that are in the air near them. Think of air purifiers. Air purifiers are used to literally purify the air in your surrounding, so a good filter for a duct would do the same.
Your home is your safety and sanctuary. It can’t be any of that when your air duct is displaying signs that it needs to be cleaned. Making sure that your air duct is clean and avoiding contamination is a way to show yourself that you care about your health and your home. Not to mention, the cost that would go into having the HVAC system fixed or replaced if it’s not maintained and cleaned regularly.
Do yourself a favor and get that air duct checked and cleaned. It’s a tedious job but you’ll thank us later for making you do it.