During the height of the heating or cooling season, your HVAC system circulates air through your home five to seven times a day. This air – which can carry dirt, dust, and debris from your living areas – is usually filtered through your HVAC system. The 3 reasons you should clean your air ducts, and the benefits of that.
During the height of the heating or cooling season, your HVAC system circulates air through your ducts five to seven times a day. Over time, dirt, dust, and debris can build up inside your ducts, restricting airflow and preventing your HVAC system from working efficiently.
Because of system neglect, inferior duct installation, and/or any ongoing remodeling projects, a heavy amount of dirt from your air can collect inside your ductwork, preventing your HVAC system from working efficiently.
During Minnick’s HVAC Audit, technicians inspect and test your ductwork. Along with energy efficiency results from other heating and cooling unit tests, they can determine whether or not your ductwork needs to be cleaned.
You should also look for these signs:
- any substance that looks like mold on the inside of ducts;
- insects, mice, or other rodent droppings inside the ducts; and
- visible dust particles, cobwebs, or other debris surrounding the outside of supply registers.
There are many advantages to cleaning your ducts, including that it will:
- remove dust, dirt, pet dander, and other allergy catalysts;
- reduce airflow obstructions to increase the efficiency of your system
- remove any rodent habitats
When air moving through your ducts, rubs against various materials – dirt, inner walls, bends, etc. – it loses energy. The greater the friction, the lower the overall energy efficiency.
“It’s like walking down a busy sidewalk with your shoulder rubbing against the buildings,” explains Allison Bailes of energyvanguard.com. As you rub against buildings, people, and other objects, you lose momentum and slow. The same principle holds true for air inside of your ductwork. The more it rubs, the more it slows down, and the more its pressure drops.
You should be aware, however, that duct cleaning is only a short-term solution to HVAC problems. To gain a better understanding of why your ducts have collected so much dust, you should hire a professional to conduct an energy audit.
Energy audits include tests that will determine (1) the deficiencies of your heating and cooling systems and (2) why they are not filtering out the dirty air, allowing them to collect in your ductwork.
If your ducts are leaking, this collection of dirt can also affect you, especially if you’re sensitive to dust, pet dander, or have other airborne allergies.
Plus, the energy auditor inspects your ductwork. He checks its design. You get reduced airflow and therefore reduced efficiency when air rubs against itself. It’s called turbulence. This often happens when ductwork makes a 90° turn, causing the air to turn and collide with oncoming air. This is why it is so important to have your ductwork professionally designed and installed.
“As air moves through a supply duct, the pressure created by the fan behind it keeps it moving,” explains Bailes. “The farther it travels down the duct, though, the more that pressure is reduced by friction and turbulence.”
The best way to determine the overall efficiency of your HVAC system (and ductwork) is with a professional HVAC energy audit. These audits include tests that will determine (1) the deficiencies of your heating and cooling systems and (2) why they are not properly filtering the air, allowing dirt and debris to collect in your ductwork. Your technician will take digital pictures of the insides of your ductwork to determine the primary cause(s) of decreased airflow.