Ducts are an important part of many heating and cooling systems. Refrigerated air, furnaces, and swamp coolers have of air ducts to circulate heated or cooled air through your home. What many homeowners don’t realize is that dust, dander, pollen, and many other nasty things collect inside of ductwork. Because it’s “out of sight, out of mind”, the buildup can go unnoticed for years or even decades! This can cause damage to your heating and cooling system and can also be harmful to you or family members’ health.
Thankfully, technology makes it fairly simple for professionals to clean your ducts. All the years of dirt and dander can be removed in a matter of hours. Learn more about why you should get your air ducts cleaned.
But how do I keep them from getting dirty in the first place?
We live in a desert state, so dirt is always there. There are several things you can do to slow the buildup of particles like dust and hair inside of your ductwork and help extend the life of your cooling system.
Here are 5 ways you can keep your ducts clean longer:
1. Keep up with air filter changes
The simple air filter is your first line of defense against airborne particles. Easy to install, your air filter catches the largest particles like dust and hair. Depending on the thickness of the air filter, it may need to be replaced every 1 – 3 months. If you are uncomfortable changing your own air filter, TLC’s professionals are happy to help. You can also sign up for a Preventive Maintenance Program to make it even easier.
A general rule of thumb is that for each inch of filter thickness, you have one month of use. For example, if you buy a three-inch-thick filter, you will need to change it every three months. The manufacturer of your cooling system can also recommend high-efficiency air filters for your unit. For extra protection, give one of those a try.
2. Dust and vacuum more often
Dust is everywhere in New Mexico, so it can’t be completely avoided, but you can make sure there is less of it in the house. By removing the dust out of the environment, you are making it less likely to get pulled into your ductwork through the air system. If you have a Roomba or another automatic vacuum, run it daily or every other day.
3. Get your system maintained regularly
Routine maintenance programs don’t typically include duct cleaning, but they do help with keeping other components of your unit clean. Make sure to ask your professional service provider to clean the coils, drain pans, and moving parts. This will keep particles from spreading through ductwork and causing damage to your air conditioner.
4. Consider installing an Indoor Air Quality System (IAQ)
An Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) System is one of the most powerful ways to protect your air conditioning and your health. An IAQ System removes three primary contaminants from the air and keeps them from spreading through your house and collecting inside your ductwork and equipment. The contaminants are:
• Particles: dust, pollen, dander, hair
• Germs & Infectious Agents: bacteria, viruses, biological substances
• Chemical Gases & Odors: formaldehyde, benzene, other chemicals and gases
IAQ has also been known to ease allergy symptoms and lessen the frequency of colds and flu. Learn more about Indoor Air Quality Systems today.
5. Get your ducts cleaned every 1 – 3 years
The amount of time you can go between duct cleaning depends on the number of individuals in your house. The more children and pets you have, the more often you will need to get the ducts cleaned. Your service provider can help you make a game plan for how long you can go between cleanings. Just don’t wait too long, or you will find yourself back at square one.
What is the bottom line?
By regularly cleaning your ducts and keeping dust and particles from getting there in the first place, you are protecting both your heating and cooling equipment and your health. If you would like to learn more, ask a pro or schedule an appointment today.