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For most people, their air ducts are out of sight and therefore out of mind. Unfortunately, this can cause a lot of problems, as your air ducts are the key to a household with good indoor air quality. As your air conditioning and heating systems move air throughout your home, it also moves debris that has built up inside your ducts around as well. That’s why if your air has felt stale or stagnant lately, or you’ve simply been living in the same house for many years and have never had your ducts examined, you may be able to benefit from professional air duct cleaning. Keep reading to learn the top five signs your air ducts need to be cleaned.

1. There Is Extra Dust Around Your Home

Dust is one of those things that’s unavoidable for every homeowner. No matter what you do, there’s always going to be some in your house. However, if it’s starting to feel like all you do is dust and dust and still nothing changes, then you could be dealing with dirty air ducts. One way to tell if this is the case is to inspect your air vents. If they are fairly clean or only require a light dusting, you are probably fine. If, however, your registers are coated in dust, take off the vent and look inside. If you find that the metal is also extremely dusty, then you should consider doing two things. First, check your air filter, since it is impossible for any HVAC system to function properly if the filter is clogged with dust and debris. Second, if your air filter is fairly clean or the problem persists after your air filter is replaced, call a professional for duct cleaning.

2. There Are Symptoms of Mold Growth in Your Home

In addition to dust, there are a ton of nasty things that get transferred through your air ducts. Pollen, pet dander, and various microbes can all fly around your air, making it difficult for you to breathe. However, while those other things can be hard or impossible for the naked eye to spot, one thing you can visibly detect is mold growth. Mold thrives in environments where there is excess moisture. Your HVAC system naturally creates condensation, so over time, mold can develop in your ductwork or other parts of your HVAC system. When mold spores get in your air, they can exacerbate allergy symptoms and breathing problems. On top of this, you may notice a wet, musty smell if there is mold growing in your ductwork. If left unchecked for long enough, mold not only aggravates your respiratory symptoms, but can cause headaches, nausea, and joint pain. And then there’s the structural damage that excessive mold growth can cause. To reduce the amount of mold in your ducts, consider installing a whole-home dehumidifier. But if you are still feeling the effects of mold spores in your air no matter what you do, call an HVAC technician for duct cleaning.

3. There Are Pests Around Your Home

Have you noticed cockroaches crawling around the kitchen? Spotted rats or mice in the attic? Well, as much as you probably don’t want to hear it, if you have seen pests in these areas, there’s a good chance they are in your air ducts, too. Droppings left behind by these pests can be extremely bad for your air, as their fecal spores contain toxic bacteria that may make it difficult for you to breathe. In addition to visible rodent or insect sightings, you may find other signs that pests have made their way into your ductwork, including gnaw marks on wood, wires, and other materials, as well as nasty smells. Some rodents have teeth that are actually sharp enough to chew their way through ductwork, so once you have called a pest exterminator to take care of these vermin, make sure to call an HVAC technician to take a look at your ducts next. Besides leaving droppings, it is possible for these pests to create structural damage that may require more significant repairs.

4. Your Home Has Just Undergone a Major Renovation

Have you recently completed an addition to your home, or upgraded a room so it better suits your needs? This level of construction always involves significant debris flying around in the air, and even if your contractors have been as careful in cleaning up as possible, it is likely that some dirt, dust, and debris will end up in your ducts. Depending on the materials being used, the particulate matter that gets dredged up during construction can be extremely bad for air quality. On top of this, if your renovation involved adding on to your existing ductwork, it is sadly very easy for your contractors to make mistakes that can affect your HVAC system’s airflow and, as a result, your air quality. If you have recently added on to your home, it is always a good idea to call for professional duct cleaning, just to be sure everything is completely clean and functional.

5. Your Energy Costs Keep Going Up

Have you noticed your heating and/or cooling bills rising over time? The fact is that your HVAC costs should remain fairly stable from year to year, unless your habits change significantly. While you may pay more for cooling in the summer and heating in the winter, a steady climb in your utility bills can indicate there is another issue at play. Your ductwork may be at the source of this issue, as dirty air has a harder time flowing freely, and can therefore cause your system to work harder, resulting in higher cooling/heating costs for you. Watch out for rooms in your house where airflow is particularly weak. If you find that your air feels obstructed even when your vents are completely open, dirty ducts could be the source of the problem. It is also possible there is a leak in your ductwork, which you will want to repair ASAP for the sake of your energy bills and your overall air quality.

Stop putting up with dirty ducts in your home! To learn more about the benefits of professional duct cleaning, call Carter Services today at (310) 872-1898, or simply fill out our contact form online.