Over the last pandemic year, the lowly air duct has gone from being out of sight out of mind to a reality tv star.
Literally the moment scientists and air quality researchers announced that SARS-CoV-2 was airborne, all eyes turned to the elephant in every room – ventilation or lack thereof.
Some people were so wary of airborne transmission that they chose to stop using their air conditioner or heating system entirely. Other people allayed concerns by running their HVAC fans continuously – racking up huge energy bills in the name of peace of mind.
But while these knee-jerk responses to the unprecedented stress levels that COVID-19 have caused us are understandable, they don’t really work that well.
What does work is addressing indoor air ventilation at its source – inside your air ducts. In this post, learn how air duct cleaning and maintenance improves indoor ventilation, cuts energy costs and keeps your air healthier.
What Are HVAC Air Ducts?
It is easy to assume you know exactly what air ducts are and what they do. But consider this – when was the last time you got a good look at the air ducts inside your home or workplace?
If you answered “never” you are in good company!
Air ducts are air conduits – pathways that air travels inside your home.
Some of those pathways move fresh, temperature controlled air into your home. And some of those pathways move stale, toxic and polluted air out of your home.
Together, these pathways work to exchange stale air for fresh air and improve the ventilation inside your home or workplace.
How Much Do You Know About Your Air Ducts?
Like most people, you probably inherited your air ducts along with your home or commercial space.
For this reason, you may not know when they were installed, what materials were used or when they were last inspected, repaired or maintained.
This is why we often say that air ducts are either the unseen heroes or villains of ventilation.
Reason being, a well constructed, airtight and well maintained air duct system can help reduce energy costs, improve indoor comfort and support optimal health.
Unfortunately, most air duct systems are not in any shape to achieve any of these goals.
Many air duct systems we see actually do more harm than good – leaking air along the way, letting in toxins and even releasing toxic matter into the air.
4 Key Signs Your Air Ducts Need Cleaning and Maintenance
Air ducts have a shelf life like any major structural system. How long your particular ducts last will depend on what they are made of and how often (or not) they are cleaned and maintained.
Look for the following warning signs as indicators that it is time to schedule an air duct inspection and cleaning service:
1. Your ducts are 15 years old or older.
Even the most durable duct system will start to pull apart at the seams over time, due to heat expansion and cooling contraction. This just gets worse if the ducts are poorly joined or unsealed. Metal ducts can also rust and introduce interior condensation that leads to mildew and mould.
Well maintained ducts constructed from weatherproof, durable materials may last upwards of 20 years. But the only way to know for sure is to get up there and have a look around!
2. Your home is chronically dusty.
One easy way to guesstimate the state of your interior ductwork is to take a closer look at the air registers and vents in each room.
Do you see dust or suspicious looking dark spots?
Are your surfaces constantly gathering dust?
These are all signs that you have debris, dirt, dust and who knows what else piling up inside your ductwork.
3. Your home is mildly stinky – no matter what you do.
All the air fresheners and odour eaters in the world aren’t going to be enough to cover up a duct system that is breeding mould or pulling in unconditioned air from attics and crawl spaces.
When nothing you try seems to noticeably freshen up your indoor air, it is time to dig deeper in order to find the real culprit.
4. You and your family suffer from chronic low grade health symptoms.
This is simply not the year to try to live life with a chronically depleted immune system. Toxic, oxygen-poor indoor air can deliver mild respiratory symptoms that keep you from sleeping deeply and managing stress levels.
Trapped toxins in your air ducts can create a feedback loop of mental fogginess, irritability, runny nose, headache, mild cough, body aches and cold/flu symptoms that make you doubt if you will ever feel like your old self again.
What to Expect With a Professional Air Duct Cleaning
A professional air duct cleaning typically takes less than half a day. Our indoor air quality experts at Shipton’s Heating and Cooling start by inserting a tiny camera into your air ducts for a “before” view.
Then we bring in our commercial grade Rotobrush negative pressure vacuum to securely remove all trapped debris with zero leakage inside your space. We follow this up with a sanitizing and/or deodorizing treatment.
As a side perk, our air duct cleaning technicians will make recommendations for routine duct maintenance in order to lower your energy bills and extend the life of your duct system.
Shipton’s Heating and Cooling in Hamilton, Ontario, is Your Ventilation and Air Duct Expert
Air duct cleaning and maintenance has come a long way over the last year. We know more now than ever before about how airborne toxins travel, as well as how to trap and eliminate them from our indoor air supply.
BONUS: This month only – purchase a new furnace and a/c combo and get a FREE professional air duct cleaning. Claim your free duct cleaning until May 31, 2021.