Yes, you should have your air ducts cleaned.

Yes, you should have your air ducts cleaned.

Leave it to the experts: The National Air Duct Cleaners Association, that is. “If your ducts look dirty, they probably are.” We talked last month about the importance of having your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system inspected regularly; periodic air duct cleaning is just as important.

But why?

Have your air ducts cleaned for better indoor air quality.

Did you know that your home accumulates up to 40 pounds of dust every year? All you have to do is live your life, and at the end of the year, BAM, there’s a toddler made of dust crawling through your air ducts. Now imagine there’s a toddler made of dust crawling through your lungs — sounds less than pleasant, right?

Right. Just as your lungs help you breathe, your heating and cooling system (i.e., the lungs of your home) circulates, and recirculates air five to seven times each day. But that’s not all that circulates, and recirculates. Contaminants that include dander and chemicals get pulled into your HVAC system, and can contribute to dirty ducts. This is not good for four your skin, eyes, or your health in general.

While we admit that dirty air ducts don’t always lead to dirty air, it’s important to note that they may very well contribute to larger respiratory issues for people with autoimmune disorders and/or severe environmental allergies.

Have your air ducts cleaned for the energy savings.

Let’s forget about the dirty ducts [do or do not] = dirty air argument for a moment, and talk about energy savings. Every year, 25 to 40 percent of the energy used to heat and cool your home is wasted. Dust and pet dander get inside the air ducts, and force your heating system to work harder than it should.

That doesn’t make anyone happy. A heating system forced to work harder than it should will break down more often, will cost more money to operate, and will work less efficiently. On the contrary, when an HVAC system (that means air ducts, too!) is clean, the home it heats will be warmer, and its operator will experience lower heating bills.

Okay, you convinced me. How often should my ductwork be cleaned?

You already scheduled the appointment to have your annual heating system check completed; it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have your ductwork inspected at the same time. My Plumber’s certified HVAC technicians know just what to look for, and we’ll recommend air duct cleaning if necessary.

Air ducts should be cleaned every three to five years.