Why There Is A Need For More Air Duct Cleaning In The Housing Market
When your air ducts are dirty, it spreads bad air throughout your house. Even new houses sometimes have dirty air ducts. Here's why that happens.
Air Duct Cleaning is an Important Part of Good Health
Clean air is an important part of our health. Famously, the Great Smog of 1952 in London killed as many as ten to twelve thousand people. That’s not even counting the long term illnesses that didn’t result in death. The toll of bad air is huge.
Fortunately, here in Cache Valley and Northern Utah, we’ve never experienced air pollution that bad, though our inversions sometimes come close. The inversion may only be a winter thing, but bad air can be a problem at any time of the year, especially if your air ducts aren’t dirty. I could tell you horror stories of things I’ve found cleaning air ducts. The things you may be breathing because of what’s in your air ducts will shock you.
And it’s becoming more common.
Once Every Three Years
If you’re doing everything right – you have the right filter, you replace your filter regularly, etc. – you should only need to clean your air ducts once every three years to five years at most. Even that is a deadline a lot of people miss. It’s very easy to overlook it because it’s not something you need to do very often. Your air ducts are also out of sight. If your carpet gets dirty, you see the spots. If your bathroom sink is dirty, you’ll see it every time you go to the bathroom. How often do you look inside your air ducts? I’m gonna guess almost never. Most clients I’ve worked for tell me they can’t even remember the last time they thought about it, if they ever did at all.
And it’s not just a problem with homes you’ve lived in for a long time.
House flipping is by no means a new phenomenon. A person goes out and buys an old home, fixes it up, and resells it for a profit. More recently, AirBnB lets people rent houses to travelers. I come across a lot of air duct problems in these situations. House flippers and AirBnB renters are often do-it-yourself types. They think by doing the work themselves, they can save some money. Perhaps they do, but they also frequently make a mess. We’ve seen sawdust, construction tools, and even fiberglass insulation (a serious health risk if you breathe it in) in air ducts. They don’t think to clean the air ducts before selling or renting the house, so that gunk is all in there while you’re staying.
Finding a lot of bad stuff in the ducts is also common after remodeling – especially if the remodeling job was DIY.
Even New Homes Need Air Duct Cleaning
Photo by RODNAE Productions
I don't want to be too hard on the DIYers, because sometimes even professional construction crews make this mistake. Most will clean out the air ducts before the put the filters and vents on, or call in a professional to do it for them. This isn’t always the case. One of my previous clients reported that they’d been having problems with their asthma since they moved into the house that had been built specifically for them. When we cleaned out their air ducts, we found fiberglass insulation.
These things can happen, so even if the house is brand new, don’t take it on faith that the air ducts are cleaned. Instead, always ask if the construction crew remembered to take care of it. If you’re buying it from a realtor, ask if they remembered to hire someone for the job. If the construction crew forgot, or the realtor says they don’t know, that’s a sign you should have someone come in and clean them just to be safe.
More Than Just Health
You definitely want clean air ducts. It’s not just about health, either. Dirty air ducts can cause dust to get sucked back into your HVAC. They coat the moving parts, creating more friction, which wears them out. If too much dust clogs up the filters, the HVAC has to work harder to heat and cool your home, meaning you spend a lot more on heating and air conditioning. Letting your air ducts get dirty will cost you a lot more than just your health.
Why Not Work Air Duct Cleaning Into Your Spring Cleaning?
Spring is just around the corner. Since we’ll all be doing spring cleaning, why not work air duct cleaning into your plans? You’re already doing a lot of work. Scheduling someone to come in and clean your air ducts won’t add that much to your schedule. And you will need to hire someone for it. Cleaning your air ducts requires specialized equipment that you aren’t likely to just have around the house. At my business, we use a vacuum system to avoid damaging the vents with hard brushes. We even have a highly effective sanitization system to kill off any bacteria that might be building up inside.
If it’s been a while since you cleaned your air ducts, you should definitely look into it. When you do, be sure to ask about the methods of cleaning and if they’re right for your system. We avoid using harsh brushes because they can damage ducts. If your ducts are flex ducts, brushes will completely destroy them. Some sanitizing companies will use chemicals that can be toxic to you if you breathe them, so you’ll be required to stay out of the home. So, when you hire someone to clean your ducts, make sure you ask these questions so you know what you’re getting and if it’s right for you.
Keep your air ducts clean and you’ll find yourself being healthier and happier!