If you’re putting up the heat in your house to welcome cooler weather and festive times with family and friends, there’s something you should know: You may need to clean your home’s air ducts. Dust, pet hair, and other pollutants that are blasted through your house when you turn on the heat for the first time in the fall can clog air ducts and ventilation systems. Dirty air ducts may be to fault if you feel a burning smell when the heat is turned on or if your allergy problems worsen.
The material that accumulates in your house’s air ducts over the course of the year can promote mold and bacteria growth, as well as bring rodents into your home. Homes exposed to extreme weather conditions (such as this year’s record-breaking storms or the heat and ash from wildfires) are especially vulnerable to the growth of dangerous mold and germs. Extreme weather isn’t the only thing that may contaminate your ducting. Even houses in areas where seasonal variations are common encounter a buildup of allergen-producing spring pollen or mold generated by a humid summer. Pet hair and dirt can be introduced into your house’s air ducts by daily living with dogs and people coming in and out of the home, creating allergy responses when the air starts flowing through the ducts and spreading the dirt throughout the home.
And, with flu season on the horizon, it’s even more vital to ensure that the air in your house is clear of common irritants that can aggravate symptoms or even create diseases. Older adults, small children, and those suffering from asthma or other respiratory problems are more vulnerable to illnesses induced by air pollutants.
The good news is that having your ducts cleaned can help you save money on your energy bills in the long run. According to EPA research, cleaning air ducts and removing debris from your home’s heating and air conditioning system can enhance efficiency and the overall quality of indoor air. And, if your health isn’t enough of a reason to have your air ducts cleaned this fall, clean, efficient HVAC systems are less likely to break down, have a longer lifespan, and generally operate more efficiently, saving you money and the hassle of dealing with a broken-down heating and air conditioning system.