Your home’s HVAC system works hard throughout the year. Unfortunately, this can cause it to experience problems over time, often at a time when you’d really rather it not fail on you. This is why yearly maintenance and inspections are recommended, since a little bit of attention now can save you a whole lot of problems (and money) later on.
There’s more that you can do to help your HVAC system stay in good working order than just having it inspected and maintained, though. One of the big things that you can do to help is keeping your ductwork clean. This helps to prevent blocked airflow, keeps dust and other particles from being recirculated into the air, and overall reduces the strain on your HVAC unit as it tries to push air through the entire ductwork system. If you’ve never cleaned your ductwork before, here’s what you need to know to start.
Cleaning Your Ductwork
There are a few things that you can do to clean up your ductwork. One that’s often overlooked is actually vacuuming it out to remove built up dust, dirt, and other particles. You obviously can’t do this to the entire length of your ductwork, but removing vent covers and vacuuming around the vent area still makes a huge difference. Dust and debris tend to pile up here because some of it is trapped by the vent cover itself, and it mixes with debris and other items that might get dropped down the vent by mistake. When the air kicks on, some of this loose debris is circulated back into the house, bringing with it mildew and mold spores and a variety of other things that will either be breathed in or clog up your air filter. Vacuum it out now to help keep this from happening.
Speaking of air filters, they are one of your best tools when it comes to cleaning up your ductwork. Changing them monthly keeps them in good working condition, preventing a lot of the dust, dander, and other unwanted particles from making it into your ductwork in the first place. Set a schedule to change your filter, writing it on your calendar or setting up some other reminder so that you don’t forget. Once this schedule is in place, you’ll be amazed at how much of an effect this consistency can have on the state of your ducts.
Keeping It Clean
Cleaning your ductwork isn’t just a one-and-done event. You’ll still need to vacuum your vents periodically and stick with your air filter schedule to keep it clean. There’s more that you can do to help keep the ductwork clean and reduce the strain on your HVAC system, though. Things like installing a dehumidifier to reduce overall indoor humidity and dusting your home on a more regular basis can make a big difference, especially in the weeks following your initial cleaning to get any loose particles that you couldn’t reach with the vacuum.
Another thing that you can do to help keep your ductwork clean is to make sure that all your vents are open at least a little to facilitate air flow throughout the entire duct system. A lot of homeowners close vents in rooms that don’t see much use, but this actually increases pressure on the HVAC system and creates dead ends where dust and other particles can build up. By opening these vents at least partially, you can ensure good airflow throughout the house, and avoid situations where closed vents lead to buildup.
Ductwork Cleaning and Inspection
It’s already been mentioned how important HVAC inspections are, but you can actually get your ductwork professionally cleaned and inspected as well. This cleaning helps to ensure that the entire duct system is cleaned out, and the inspection ensures that there isn’t any damage or other issues that negatively affect airflow.