Do you ever ponder your floor joists? Or give serious considerations to the cladding under your siding? Of course not! There are parts of your home that just work, and you never have to really do anything about them. Although ductwork seems like one of those out of sight, out of mind things, it’s actually one that you should look into now and again.
Dirty Ducts Spew Dirt Cheap
Sure, you change your furnace filter religiously, as you should, but that doesn’t mean that the dust in your house is taken care of. Over time, ductwork collects dirt too, especially when your vents are on the floor. The filter can only catch the dirt that goes into it; it can’t do much for dirt that settles in ductwork through open vents. Over time your ductwork can get pretty dirty, despite your best efforts.
What happens when you get dirty ducts? Well, you have a dirty house. All that free-floating dust, pet hair, loose skin cells, and other bits of tiny debris can and do land inside your vents, which allows them to blow even further into your ducts. Not to mention the trash and other objects that can easily slip through a vent grate to be lost forever. The older your home, the more layers of dirt that can pile up in your ventilation system.
Allergens Hiding in Your Ductwork
Knowing someone else’s dirt is blowing back at you from your vents is bad enough, but did you know that layers of allergens can also take up residence in dirty ducts? Sure, the last owner’s cat is long gone, but his dander may still be inside the ductwork, blowing out every time you kick on the heat or air, along with generations of pollen, dust mites, mold spores, and other potential sources of severe allergic reactions. Ducts seem so harmless until you consider that they’re really receptacles. Air moves through them, but there’s no seal to keep other things from moving back inside. They’re a hidden source of dirt and stress for so many homeowners.
What Can I Do About Dirty Ducts?
You have a few options when it comes to dirty ductwork. The first, and easiest, is to get your ducts cleaned by a professional. They use special tools to agitate the ducts and create negative pressure to suck the dirt right out, never to be seen again. When the cleaning is finished, you’ve got ducts that are almost as good as new, and you can continue to maintain them by frequently vacuuming inside your vents and grates to help reduce the dirt that moves deeper into the ductwork.
Your other option would be to go ductless. Although this is kind of a big job, you could switch your HVAC system over to one that has no ductwork, such as something utilizing electric baseboards or ductless mini-split systems, depending on your local climate. An HVAC expert can guide you through what’s involved in eliminating or redesigning the ductwork in your home if your allergies are particularly problematic or your ducts are creating other issues. You can still have climate control without ducts!
Looking for Help with Your Ducts?
Deciding what comes next for your ductwork can be a complicated decision. Cleaning your ducts is by far a less expensive solution than installing a whole new ductless heating and air conditioning system, but it’s a choice you’ll have to repeat again and again if you want to keep those ducts as clean as possible. If you’re on the fence, your best option is to consult with an HVAC expert before you choose.