Knowing When It's Time to Clean Your HVAC Ducts
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Knowing When It’s Time to Clean Your HVAC Ducts


A ductwork check should be part of annual HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system maintenance, but technicians typically don’t clean your HVAC ducts during this type of tuneup. Despite recent advertising and news reports to the contrary, it often isn’t necessary to clean your ducts, and actually can be a waste of your money.

However, it can be an extremely beneficial service in certain situations. The trick is knowing when it’s time to clean your HVAC ducts. Look for these signs:

  • Your ducts have never been cleaned before. If you’ve had the same ductwork for a few years without having it cleaned, it may bring some peace of mind to have it done. Dust, grime and animal droppings can build up over time.
  • Family members have health concerns. If anyone in the home is having more allergy problems than usual or has respiratory issues, this could be a sign that pollutants in your ductwork need to be eradicated.
  • There is noticeable dust. When your system kicks on, is there a cloud of dirt and dust released from your vents? If so, you probably need a thorough cleaning.
  • Strong odors or smells persist in your air. Odors can be a sign of other air-quality issues, which will persist if the pollutants remain in your ducts.
  • There are signs of water in your ducts. Water is a big problem, and you should seek remediation immediately. Water in your ducts can promote mold growth. You may notice signs of water damage, but it’s more common to see mold on your vents, ceiling or walls.
  • There is a history of rodent or insect problems. Pests builds nests, leave droppings and carry debris into your ducts, all of which block airflow. However, make sure that you remove the actual pests before you clean your HVAC ducts.
  • You had major repairs or remodeling done. Remodeling jobs generate a lot of dust. You don’t want it hanging around in your ducts and air supply.
  • You recently invested in new HVAC equipment. HVAC systems cycle air through the ducts. You don’t want particles from dirty ducts getting into your new system and gumming up the operation.

If you want to talk to an expert about whether you should clean your HVAC ducts, please contact us at (503) 266-1249. We’ve been serving Portland and the surrounding areas since 1976.

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