Does the site of dust bunnies in your home or office cause panic?  If you have allergies or any type of lung disorder that is quite understandable.  After all, dust and debris are common triggers for sneezing, coughing, and many other symptoms. Keeping your home or office as clean and dust-free as possible is a great place to start, however, cleaning the floors and dusting simply is not enough.  Especially when you consider the hidden risks that are lurking in your air ducts.

Your ducts require some additional cleaning outside of the normal day to day cleaning to help prevent harmful allergen buildup. When allergens buildup in the air ducts of your home or office your health and anyone that frequents the area may be impacted. Mold can also build up in the ducts and cause more serious health problems as well.


With that said, the question that is people ask when should air ducts be cleaned and how often? In this article, we will go over how often you should clean your ductwork as well as potential health risks hidden from sight.


How Often Should the Air Ducts Be Cleaned?

From a simple point of view, it is common for ducts in a home or office setting to have cleaning performed every three to five years.  While this may seem like a long interval, it can take between three or five years for them to be filled with grime.  It is important to remember that this time frame will not be the same for everyone.  This really depends on the conditions that are present in the environment.

In addition, this can sometimes vary depending on the location of a house or building, how often the HVAC system is used, and its exposure to allergens and other substances. Additionally, the conduit should be cleaned sooner if there are any individuals within the space that suffer from allergies or asthma.

Air Duct Cleaning


What Indicates That the Air Duct Needs Cleaning?

Air ducts usually present themselves in a dirty manner when they need cleaning. If you notice debris such as heavy dust on the outside of the vents or there are noticeable spurts of dust coming from the vents, then it is time to consider cleaning the vents and ducts. Chances are that the air duct system is in dire need of cleaning.


Air duct cleaning is also recommended if there is currently or has ever been an infestation of vermin. More than likely the vermin are using the ductwork as their way in and out of your home or office and may leave a trail of carcasses, droppings, and other debris in your ducts.

Where Did Debris, Dust, Dander, And Dirt in The Ductwork Come From?

While this may seem a bit odd, it is not at all surprising. Since these particles are so light, they can travel easily through the air. HVAC systems suck air in and will likely suck dust, debris, and dirt in. There is a great chance that these are being sucked into the ducts at this very moment.


Additionally, if homes are shared with pets, there is a high possibility that dander will also be accumulating in the ducts. Dander is the protein that remains when animals such as dogs, cats, and mice shed dead cells. However, dander can also be found in their saliva and on their skin. When accumulating in large amounts, they easily bring on several respiratory conditions and allergies.


Vermin Ductwork


How Can Rodents Get into The Vents?

These pests tend to thrive in warm air and duct material. During the summer when it is warm, they flock to HVAC systems since it makes the perfect spot for nesting. One quick way to determine if there are rodents in the vent is to listen as they scurry along.


While this may sound traumatizing, rodents are not only heard but also smelt. When the HVAC is either on or off, some owners notice a strong odor. However, when it is on, the smell is stronger.


These scents usually indicate that they are urinating in your system. Besides just urinating, they could also be dead in there. This is a huge problem since dead things usually attract more living things to come. From the first smell or sound, it is advised to call in the HVAC specialists immediately. When rodents are in the system, they present the risk of persons breathing in their feces, urine, dander, and even other bugs that follow them. All these present health issues such as fever, muscle aches, and even shortness of breath.


Rodents Ductwork


How Does Mold Form in Air Ducts?

Mold growing in HVAC systems is quite common since there is enough condensation and moisture. When the water vapor from the ac travels into the vents, with high humidity levels, the water is unable to evaporate and stays inside the ducts. This creates the perfect atmosphere for mold to grow.  And over time, the colonies will expand and become bigger as they feed off any organic materials around.


Why Is Mold in The Air Ducts A Problem?

Mold on its own results in several serious health risks and can present symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, and even watery eyes. In addition, there could be presence of black mold.


Black mold releases spores that are very toxic and detrimental to human health. Some of the more serious cases can leave a person with persistent headaches, chronic fatigue, nausea, and vomiting. The scariest part about mold is that the spores detach and spread easily throughout other areas of your home or office through the ducts.

Black Mold Air Ducts

In Conclusion

In conclusion, there are hidden risks lurking in your air ducts. They should be cleaned every three to five years or if there are visible signs of dirt and grime.  Another sign of knowing when to clean ducts is if there are small puffs of dust coming from the vents. Air ducts create a perfect environment for mold to grow and travel to different areas of a home. They even suck in dust particles, dirt particles, debris, and dander from pets.


In some cases, rodents also move into the HVAC system since it keeps them warm and provides a great nesting space. However, all of these can result in several different health complications for those exposed. It is advised to call in the experts and have them take care of these problems.


Proper care of your ventilation system is necessary, as well as ensuring that your HVAC system is maintained.  With regular HVAC maintenance and cleaning as well as quality HVAC filters the chances of health issues from particulates in the air can be greatly decreased!

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