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How To Know When To Clean Your Air Ducts

Expert Tips

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Excellent indoor air quality is essential in your home. Fortunately, home air ducts regulate and distribute airflow into rooms in your house to ensure you and your family are comfortable year-round. But these ducts can get dirty over time, leading to unhealthy living conditions and increased air conditioner energy bills caused by air pollutants and contaminants. 

Regular cleaning and maintenance is the best way to protect your health and improve your comfort. Cleaning of the cooling coils, heat exchangers, grilles, and blowers, as well as any supply registers, return air vents, and all general air ducts in a living space, are all a part of the cleaning processes. Here are some signs that indicate that you need to seek professional duct cleaning services immediately:

Dust and Dirt

Dirt, dust, pet dander, dust mites, particulate matter, and other harmful contaminants can accumulate in the air ducts. If you notice that your home has a buildup of dust, no matter how often and hard you clean, it’s probably the best time to have your ducts cleaned. This is especially important if you see dust buildup coming out of the air vents once you turn on the HVAC system. 

Prevent dust from building up in the air ducts by regularly replacing your HVAC system air filters. You can also invest in a high-quality air purifier to trap various airborne particles, such as tobacco smoke, bacteria, and dust.


The presence of mold in your home is a serious matter because it can cause several health issues, like coughing, wheezing, eye and skin irritation, and even respiratory problems. Worse, it can spread quickly throughout your property. 

The problem is your air ducts are prone to growing mold due to condensation development in your HVAC system. While it can be difficult to detect visually because the components of your air conditioning unit aren’t easily accessible, one way to tell if mold is present in your house is if you constantly smell a musty odor.

Once you confirm that you have mold in your air ducts, preserve the indoor air quality of your home by contacting an HVAC service provider. Their technicians can help you identify and resolve all mold problems and prevent mold growth. You also have to further protect your house against excess moisture by installing a dehumidifier or optimizing your thermostat settings.

Insect or Rodent Infestation

Insects, squirrels, and mice can make their way into your home and air ducts, leaving their droppings and nests behind. Their fecal spores can contaminate the quality of the air in your home and cause various health issues. Also, rodents can find unsealed access points in your ductwork as their new home by chewing their way in. 

To confirm if these nasty vermin are in your ductwork, some telltale signs you should look out for are droppings, unpleasant odors, and chewed-up materials. Note that this could lead to higher energy bills and severe structural damage, so make sure to reach out to HVAC professionals if your air ducts are infested.

Rising Energy Costs

Your energy bills must be relatively predictable yearly, especially if there are no new appliances or a significant change in your lifestyle. You may require air duct cleaning if you notice rising energy costs. Your dirty air ducts can increase your bills if the air cannot flow efficiently due to dirt, forcing the unit to work harder to maintain your desired temperature.


Your air ducts can be a hiding place for dust and dirt, and even insects and pests. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends homeowners schedule an air duct cleaning service when mold, vermin, standing water, or dust builds up within their cooling system. The National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) suggests having air systems cleaned:

  • Every 3 to 5 years
  • When you move in/build a new home
  • If you have pets who shed in the first place
  • After completing a home improvement/remodeling project

To maintain a healthy and comfortable living environment for you and your loved ones, note the telltale signs listed above and consider them as your guide for seeking air duct cleaning. Then contact a duct cleaning company immediately.

If you need air duct cleaning in Birmingham, reach out to Xcalibur Services. Our skilled HVAC technicians can protect you against breathing difficulties, diseases, and allergic reactions caused by dirty air duct allergens. Schedule a duct system inspection today!

Published: April 28th, 2021

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