Duct Cleaning: Is There an Optimal Time?
Cleaning and maintaining your ducts should be an essential part of your home maintenance routine. After all, they are a fundamental piece of your HVAC system – and like your other heating, venting, and air conditioning systems, they require regular care. Especially with how hard your HVAC system works in our GTA climate.
But what are ducts, how do they work, and why do we need to keep them clean? Here’s a refresher on your ductwork system, how it functions to keep you warm and cool, and why it’s important to have them professionally serviced and cleaned regularly.
How do Ducts Work?
Ducts are an essential part of your HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system. They provide the enclosed pathway for air to travel from your heating or cooling system to a series of vents located throughout your home. The air then flows through the venting system to keep your entire home cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
Traditionally made up of sheet metal, ductwork can also be made of durable plastic covered by spring steel, fiberboard, or fibreglass.
Whatever they are made of, your ducts are constantly working hard to heat and cool your home. It’s important they are well-maintained and cleaned professionally at least once every 5 years.
Why do I Need my Ducts Cleaned?
Like any system, regular cleaning and maintenance play a large role in extending the life of your ducts and helping them run efficiently. Regular cleaning and maintenance also help with:
Ducts that haven’t been properly cleaned, or haven’t been cleaned in more than 5 years, can harbour pollutants, dust, and other contaminants, which can then circulate into your interior air supply. This can pose a serious health risk, exacerbating issues such as allergies, asthma, respiratory infections, and contributing to other serious health problems.
Ducts that are properly cleaned are much less likely to become obstructed and can help clear dust, allergens, and other contaminants from the air in your home so you can breathe easily.
Efficiency & Lower Energy Bills
Your ducts will only work at peak efficiency if they are well maintained and cleaned thoroughly. Dirty heating and cooling coils, motors, and blades will result in your unit working harder. This can lead to strain on your unit and increase your energy bills.
What Does Duct Cleaning Involve?
Depending on the size of your home and the amount of ductwork and vents, a thorough cleaning could take up to 4-6 hours and includes:
- Cleaning and vacuuming up all dust and debris from the ductwork.
- Cleaning all supply registers.
- Cleaning fresh air return registers.
- Cleaning heating and cooling coils.
- Cleaning motor and fan blades.
A professional technician will also inspect your ducts to ensure:
- Your system is running efficiently.
- An even temperature is maintained throughout your home.
- Your ductwork is sealed properly.
When is the Best Time to Have my Ducts Cleaned?
Typically, the best time to have your ducts cleaned is when they aren’t constantly in use. In the GTA, this usually means either in late spring or early fall.
These months are generally considered “shoulder” months for your HVAC system. This means it is ordinarily too cool for air conditioning and warm enough that your furnace hasn’t kicked in.
Since you aren’t using your ducts as frequently during these seasons, they are the ideal time to have your ducts cleaned. Your technician will have the time they need to properly and thoroughly clean your ducts without having to pause your system, affecting the comfort of you and your family. Additionally, your ducts will be cleaned and ready to go before the season kicks in, and your HVAC system is working at maximum efficiency.
Other Signs You Need Your Ducts Cleaned
Aside from spring or fall, there may be times you suspect your ducts could use a professional cleaning. You might need a duct cleaning if:
It’s Been a While
If it has been over 5 years since your last cleaning and maintenance check, your ducts are likely due for a thorough cleaning and maintenance inspection.
You’ve Been Renovating
If you have recently remodelled or renovated your home, your ductwork could probably benefit from a thorough cleaning. Construction kicks up dust, dirt, and debris that can settle in your ductwork and circulate throughout your home.
You’ve Got Pets or an Infestation
Not only can your pets shed hair and dander that can settle in your ductwork and blow throughout your home, but an animal infestation or nest can also cause problems with your ductwork. If there is any evidence of an infestation, contact your technician for a full cleaning and inspection.
You’ve Got Mold
A warm location with a high water vapour content is often prone to mold buildup in the ductwork. If you visibly see mold, smell mildew throughout your home, or you or your family members are continually ill, check your ductwork for signs of harmful mold and mildew.
You Constantly Feel Under the Weather
If you or a family member are continually under the weather, your allergies won’t subside, or you suffer from consistent dry or irritated eyes, it may be a good idea to check your ductwork for signs of built-up dust and debris.