Whether you are heating your home in the winter or cooling it in the summer, almost all of the air that you and your family breathe passes through your air ducts. The air filter in your circulation system – which you should regularly replace – catches most of the dust and particulate matter that would otherwise continue circulating through your home, but dust finds a way, and inevitably builds up in the ducts.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, there is no reason to think that duct cleaning prevents health problems if there is a normal amount of dust in the ducts. This is because most of that dust adheres to the duct surface. If your ducts contain mold, vermin or an excessive amount of dust, however, you should get them professionally cleaned.
The first sign to look for is dust or debris blowing out of your air ducts. If you see this, get a flashlight and a camera with a flash. Remove the vent cover using a screwdriver and stick the camera as far down the duct as possible to snap a few photos.
If the photos reveal bugs, vermin or droppings, you should absolutely have your ducts cleaned. The same goes for any kind of mold, which can happen as a result of dampness in your insulation. If this is the case, you may be looking at getting your ducts replaced. An excessive amount of dust is also a good reason to get your ducts cleaned, but remember that some buildup on the inside of the ducts is normal.
The information in this article is intended to provide guidance on the proper maintenance and care of systems and appliances in the home. Not all of the topics mentioned are covered by our home warranty or maintenance plans. Please review your home warranty contract carefully to understand your coverage.