A woman cleaning her Richmond, VA living room from dust

How Do I Know If My Air Ducts Need to Be Cleaned?


With the spring season finally arriving, it’s also the perfect time for spring cleaning around your home. While you’ll be sure to get in-between every nook and cranny, there is one area that many homeowners don’t include in their routine.

Your home’s air ducts work to control your home’s climate, but they too are prone to becoming dirty throughout the years. According to the EPA, you should get your ducts professionally cleaned on a need-to basis. Their tests show that you won’t notice any health risks until your ducts start to get really dirty. The question is, when should you clean your air ducts to prevent any issues in the first place?


If Dust Collects More Often


For spring cleaning, you’re most likely doing everything you can to keep dust from collecting. If you dust your surfaces and furniture on a regular basis, then they should stay relatively dust-free for a while.


If you notice that no matter how often you gather up all the dust in your house, it’s still covering every inch of the place, then you may want to check your air ducts.


Your air filters should be properly keeping dust particles from entering the HVAC duct network, and in turn keeping them from gathering throughout your house. If a large amount of dust and debris is stuck inside your ducts and air filters, then they can’t properly separate the clean air from the dust particles. They will eventually mix with the air circulating throughout your home, making it near impossible to keep your surfaces dust-free.


Spikes in Your Energy Bills


If your air filters and duct system are being blocked by large clumps of dust and debris, then you should start to notice a jump in your energy bills.


When working properly, your HVAC system produces energy to keep your home at a set normal temperature. Because of this, energy bills are known to have a natural fluctuation which can be tracked by the seasons. When it’s winter or summer, your bill will likely go up. In moderate seasons like spring and fall, your bill will most likely go down. Between the two extremes, there should be an average that you can depend on.


If your energy bill suddenly rises, this could be another sign of dust and debris build-up in your ducts. The built-up dust particles make it more difficult for air to circulate through the ducts, causing your HVAC system to work harder to keep a consistent air flow.


Noticeable Mold Around the Vents


If you’ve noticed any of the previous signs or are just curious, then it’s time to check on what your vents look like.


Your home’s ducts are too deep in the walls to be seen. The only way to know if there is mold in your duct system is to hire a professional duct cleaning company.


But if you open up the vents throughout your house, you might see noticeable mold. This could be the tip of the iceberg indication that there is more mold deeper in the vents. You’ll want to call a professional to come out and clean your ducts. The longer you go without duct cleaning after noticing a problem, the greater your risk for health problems.


Possible Causes of Dirty Ducts


There are a few explanations for how your HVAC duct system got so dirty.


Have You Remodeled Anything Recently?


If you’ve had any construction done in your house recently, then it’s likely that the debris from the project has gotten stuck in your system. While vents are normally completely closed off, it’s still possible for dust and debris to find their way into the ducts, especially if you continued to live in the house while the construction was going on.


Is There a Leak in Your Ducts?


There could also be a break in the duct system’s sealant. When your ducts are installed, they are brought in as seperate pieces and then sealed together once in place. That sealant can deteriorate over time, and if broken, can cause excess dirt and moisture to enter your ducts.


What to Do Next


If you’ve noticed any of these signs, it’s important to contact an NADCA-certified air duct cleaning service, as they’ll have the training and expertise to effectively clean your system and pinpoint the problem so it can be fixed. This is not a DIY job and should be handled by professionals.


Kohmar Air Duct Cleaning is Richmond’s #1 HVAC duct system cleaner.  We’re NADCA certified and our experienced team is dedicated to keeping your home’s air quality safe and clean.