Maintaining clean ductwork is a key factor in keeping your home’s indoor air quality high. Since heating and cooling ducts distribute air to and from every room in your house, they also distribute dust, allergens and other pollutants throughout your home. Preventing dirty ductwork isn’t difficult.
The following are a few tips for preventing dirty ductwork and keeping your indoor air clean.
If you keep a clean house, the air flowing back into the HVAC system via the return air ducts will also be clean.
- Eliminate sources of dust, mold and other contaminants so they can’t contribute to dirt buildup in your ductwork.
- Vacuum carpets, drapes and furniture and sweep hardwood floors frequently to keep dust and lint from accumulating and being sucked into the return ducts.
- Repair any leaks in the roof or plumbing quickly to keep insulation and drywall from holding moisture that can lead to mold and mildew growth.
- Brush pets frequently and dispose of loose hair so it doesn’t collect beneath furniture or behind doors and end up being sucked into return ducts.
Seal Vents to Block Renovation Debris
If you’re doing any home renovations that generate sawdust or other debris, be sure to seal return registers in the affected rooms to keep the debris out of the ductwork. Clean up thoroughly before you re-open the vents.
If your home is just being built or if a new ductwork system is being added, be sure the contractor cleans new ducts thoroughly before the HVAC equipment is turned on.
Keep Ductwork in Good Repair
Inspect your home’s ductwork periodically yourself or have an HVAC technician inspect it for you to find leaking joints, seams or other damage that will allow air to enter the system without going through the filter.
Leaky ducts should be sealed with mastic or metal tape, not with the gray “duct tape” you can buy at your local hardware store. Despite its name, duct tape deteriorates quickly under high-temperature operating conditions, so it’s not useful for duct repairs.
Look for moisture inside ducts or in duct insulation that could lead to mold growth. Repair the source of moisture and clean and dry the affected ducts thoroughly to prevent mold spores from getting into your indoor air.
Change the Air Filter Regularly
Keeping a clean filter in the HVAC system is one of the easiest ways of preventing dirty ductwork. Check the filter every month until it begins getting dirty, then replace it with a fresh one.
Be sure to select the proper type and size of air filter. It should fit tightly into the filter slot so air can’t bypass the filter as it moves from the return ducts back through the air handler.
A clean filter will not only keep ductwork cleaner, but it will also reduce stress on the HVAC system, improving your energy efficiency and prolonging the life of the air handling equipment.
Schedule Regular Maintenance Calls
Set up a regular maintenance schedule with your HVAC contractor. An annual furnace and air conditioner tune-up will keep the system running well and give your technician an opportunity to spot problems, such as poor fuel combustion, mold growth or leaky ducts before they become serious enough to impact indoor air quality.
Learn more about boosting your home’s Indoor Air Quality at Gentry Heating, Inc. Ask about our HVAC maintenance services and Air Cleaning Systems.
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