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THE IMPORTANCE OF AIR DUCT CLEANING AND YOUR HEALTH
WHY AIR DUCT CLEANING SHOULD NEVER BE OVERLOOKED
Forgetting about air duct cleaning is one of the easiest mistakes to make as a homeowner or business owner. The rest of the system seems to work fine even if you forget to clean the ducts for quite some time. However, what might seem “fine” on the surface is actually suffering from several unseen problems. NADCA recommends professional air duct cleaning at least once every four years (more frequently if you suffer from allergies or asthma) and here’s why.
INDOOR AIR ISN’T ALWAYS HEALTHY
You might think that you’re safer breathing the air indoors than risking inhaling the pollutants outdoors, but you would be wrong. Studies by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have shown that indoor air is often up to 500 percent more polluted than the air outdoors. That means there are 5 times as many pollutants inside your home than there are outside. Clean air ducts and filters are required to remove these pollutants from your air supply.
NADCA states that the average home with six rooms can collect as much as 40 pounds of dust and dirt in their air ducts within the span of a single year; that alone should blow your mind. If you consider that more than 40,000 dust mites can live in an ounce of dust, that’s room for more than 25 billion dust mites hiding in your home in the air ducts alone.
Dust mites aren’t even your biggest worry. Various bacteria and toxic black mold can live inside the air ducts in these pockets of dirt and debris. They are then blown through your home when the HVAC system is used. This could lead to a serious health disaster if you suffer from asthma or allergies.
THE EFFICIENCY OF YOUR HVAC SYSTEM
Your health isn’t the only thing harmed when you neglect regular air duct cleaning. That unfortunate buildup of dirt also harms the efficiency of your HVAC system. The more dirt that is present in the ducts, the worse the air flow is through the home. Your HVAC system will have to work harder and consume more energy to do the same work.
This leads to two serious problems. First, you’ll notice a spike in your energy bill. It’s taking more energy to do the job so it’s going to cost you more money every month. Second, it’s going to shorten the lifespan of your HVAC system. That means you’ll wind up paying to replace the system well ahead of schedule.
According to estimations from the EPA, removing only four-tenths of a single inch of dirt from your cooling coils can save nearly twenty-one percent on your energy consumption. Add this up over the course of an entire year and the savings are considerable.
It’s also estimated that 90 percent of all HVAC failures occur due to neglected maintenance. Performing regular air duct cleaning can help you get the full lifespan from your HVAC system. The cost of air duct cleaning is negligible next to the cost of replacing components or even an entire heating and cooling system, not to mention your health.
MOLD IS A SERIOUS PROBLEM
Mold loves to hide in air ducts. This is especially true in humid environments. The air ducts are dark and mold growth can go by unnoticed for long periods of time. People who live in the home might find themselves getting sick often without really knowing why. It’s very likely that they’ve neglected to clean their air ducts for long periods of time and now mold has started to spread.
Air ducts often alternate between low and high humidity depending on how often the system is used. This gives the mold enough time to grow and produce spores before being blown through the house when the air is used.
What might start as a small mold growth in the ducts can quickly spread throughout the entire house. Mold remediation can cost thousands of dollars if the growth is significant. It’s much more affordable to simply have your ducts inspected and cleaned on a regular basis. AmeriDri as a mold remediation company that has been in business for nearly 25 years and a wife that got mold poisoning 13 years ago in New Mexico, I understand the importance of duct cleaning.
THE PROPER WAY TO CLEAN AIR DUCTS
During the air duct cleaning process, the entire HVAC system should be placed under negative pressure (with a vacuum attached to an outside truck mount) to prevent the spread of contaminants throughout your home or business. Brushes should be used to loosen the dirt and debris, while the vacuum extracts the debris. The duct system should be sanitized and sealed for continued healthy air flow.
HOW LONG HAS IT BEEN?
Both the EPA and the National Air Duct Cleaners Association — which represents more than 1,000 cleaning companies nationwide — agree there are benefits in cleaning dirt from air ducts, furnaces, central air conditioners and ventilation system. The need for cleaning your duct system will depend on several factors, 1. How many pets live in the home? 2. Does someone smoke in the home? 3. Have you had recent renovations in your home? 4. What is the overall cleanliness of your home? If you don’t remember the last time your ducts were inspected or cleaned, then now is probably a good time to have them cleaned. Otherwise, you should have them cleaned at least once every three to five years.