Tips on Air Duct Cleaning and Maintenance

HVAC Systems on building image

HVAC unit in your home is responsible for a lot of hard work. It keeps you cool in the summer, and warm in the winter – and you probably never appreciate it more than when the temperatures outside ventures into extreme territory.

One of the worst things that could happen would be for the system to break down or begin having issues during one of these times. This is especially true for families with very young children or for elderly folks, both of whom are more sensitive to drastic temperatures.

To help make sure your HVAC system stays in proper working order all year, no matter what the weather is doing outside, follow these easy steps.

Regularly Replace Air Filters

Air filters are the large, rectangular (or square) barriers placed just behind the grate in front of your air intake. They are responsible for filtering out excessive dust, allergens, pet dander, smoke, odors, and even germs. If you have not replaced yours in a while, you can readily find them at hardware stores. All you need to do is get the correct measurements, and buy filters and the appropriate size.

The longer a filter is kept in place, the more “clogged” it can become. Not only does this compromise the purity of the air in your home, but it also means your HVAC system is working much harder than it needs to. Replace your filters monthly, to allow for better efficiency and lower energy costs.

Periodically Have Your Air Ducts Cleaned

Speaking of efficiency, it is also one of the many benefits of air duct cleaning. Your filters work hard to keep the smaller particles out of your HVAC system, but some still sneak through. It is recommended that you get your air ducts cleaned once every 3 to 5 years.

A thorough cleaning accomplishes several things. For starters, it can clear out any harmful allergens which may be affecting the health of someone in your home. It can also increase efficiency by keeping all of your ducts and vents clear. Lastly, having a professional go through your system once every few years can help you to spot small problems before they become large problems.

Get HVAC Tune-Ups Regularly

Whenever you schedule a cleaning, make sure that you also schedule an HVAC tune up. There are many moving parts which need to be properly maintained, and having a professional out to make sure everything is in good working order can prevent the kind of breakdowns that I mentioned in the intro.

An HVAC system is a real workhorse, but it is also a little too complicated for the average homeowner to work on themselves. It’s always advised that you have a licensed and insured contractor come out to take a look periodically.

Understand What Duct Cleaning Emergencies Are and Aren’t

Like I said earlier, periodic air duct cleanings are a good idea, but beware of companies or salespeople who try to convince you that there is some sort of emergency that must be addressed right away. Needless to say, some unscrupulous companies try to use scare tactics as opportunities to charge you exorbitant fees. A good contractor will calmly present you with a plan of action, and recommendations.

Make no mistake, there are a few situations where something dangerous could be in your air ducts. Typically, this is either mold, or a rodent nest. These situations do constitute emergencies, but they are not so drastic that you don’t have time for second opinion. A reputable contractor will understand your hesitance to jump into a larger expense, and may even recommend that you have another professional out to confirm their findings.

A little bit of regular maintenance goes a long way. If you keep on top of filter changes, cleanings, and tune ups, you can avoid emergencies altogether.

Niv Orlian is an online marketer and the Co-Founder of DO Online Marketing, a Chicago based company that helps local businesses such as Golan’s Moving & Storage, acquire, manage, and retain local customers online.