Could your home be making you sick? Could those allergies be inside rather than outside? Yes, and yes. Of course, you’ve already sussed out the obvious places: the mold in the bathroom, years of dirt in the carpet, even the drapes and blinds.
But what about the air ducts? You know, the very thing that carries the conditioned air to you from your expensive HVAC unit. Just because you use filters on your furnace and air conditioning unit doesn’t mean that those ducts are clean. Here are times to check your ducts to keep your air breathable and pristine.
When you buy new
Even if your home is new, you have no guarantee that your ducts are clean. In fact, you’ll often find layers of drywall dust, insulation, and other harmful debris in your ducts that entered during the building and testing stages of your home and its systems. If you’re prone to allergies, have your ducts cleaned before you move in.
When you buy old
If you’re a home’s second, third, or more owner, you have no idea what might be lurking in those ducts. If three owners ago had a litter of kittens, you may not find any dander in the new carpets, but there could be pet hair and dander in those ducts. Try to get having the ducts inspected and cleaned added into your seller’s closing costs or home warranty.
After a long winter
When your home is closed up for long periods due to inclement weather, dust mites find their way into your ducts. Add some damp days and that crossover period from winter to summer (usually called spring) when you try not to operate your heat or air conditioning, and you’ve set up your ducts to be breeding grounds for allergens of all types including mold spores and dust mites, and a collecting place for pollen.
When to call the pros
Even a shop vacuum with a super long hose cannot clean out most ducts from the vent back toward the fan unit. Call in a licensed and bonded professional air duct cleaning service to take care of the problem for you. Schedule them before the worst of the allergy season to clean out the ducts and install HEPA filters in the air returns and furnace. Make sure that your filters can trap microscopic particles, pet dander, and fine dust. Change them as frequently are noted on the packaging.
If you’re buying a home, be sure to ask about any special filtration included in your HVAC until. And talk to your agent about requesting adding air duct cleaning into those seller’s closing costs.