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How to Know When Your Air Ducts Need Cleaning

Posted on: November 8, 2022

Air duct cleaning is something that every home needs done about every three to five years. Most homes that never have their ducts cleaned deal with a slow efficiency drain on the HVAC. Many only have their ducts cleaned every decade or two when the HVAC is replaced. However, some situations where your home needs an air duct cleaning typically occur when the dust inside the ducts overwhelms the HVAC’s filtration process or when something nasty has started growing in the dust.

Dirty vs Clean Duct Comparison | Bud Matthews
Image Source: Firax/Shutterstock

Here at Bud Matthews Services, we’re not going to tell you to get your ducts cleaned every few months. We take pride in our integrity and simply, you don’t need that. However, we are here to tell you that air duct cleaning becomes a must when your home’s air quality begins to suffer, the family’s health is at stake, and your power bills become unreasonable. How, exactly, do you know when your home’s need has reached the point of scheduling a duct cleaning? Here are the top six signs that your ducts need cleaning.

Mold: Musty Smell or Signs of Mold Near the Vents

The smell of mold is distinct and once you know how it smells, you will never forget it. Mold has the smell of wet laundry that has “gone sour.” It’s that awful smell when you open bread that has gone fuzzy or walk into a damp basement with speckles growing up the walls. We call the smell “musty” because it is associated with damp and untended places – like your air ducts.

As dust builds up in layers inside your metal ducts, it can hold moisture. Once that happens, mold spores, which are always in the air, will take hold and begin to grow a colony. The mold colony creates and releases more spores; the first sign of this is a musty smell. After that, your family may experience allergy symptoms, headaches, and constant sickness. If these signs manifest, a thorough duct cleaning can remove the mold and the health hazard from your home.

Alongside the musty smell, you may also spot mold starting to grow in the walls and ceiling near your vents.

Extra Dusty: Home is Constantly Dusty, or Dust Emits from the Vents

If you notice your home accumulates dust unreasonably fast, this is typically a sign that your ducts have all the dust they can hold. Dust accumulates over time in your ducts, then is released as air passes through. When too much dust builds up, there is a constant supply to re-distribute back into your home, no matter how many times you replace the HVAC air vent.

Dirty Duct Vent | Bud Matthews Services
Image Source: VTT Studio/Shutterstock

An extra dusty home is a classic indication that it’s time to have your ducts cleaned, and you might be surprised just how dust-free your home becomes after a skilled team hooks up the vacuum truck to the ductwork.

If you see dust coming out of the vents when the AC turns on, this is a clear sign that it is time for a cleaning.

Rodents: Signs or Smells of Rodent Pests in the Ducts

It is an unfortunate truth that rodents love to get into the ductwork of many homes. It’s like a sheltered superhighway for rats, mice, and other local rodent varieties. If rodents get inside your home or crawl through the walls, they can enter the ducts and leave droppings behind. These droppings dry out and become part of your home with each gust of air from the heating system.

Rodents pose serious health problems, including a number of diseases and parasites that droppings can spread in your air vents. If you hear sounds of rodents, smell dead animals or fecal matter from the vents, or even detect rodents outside your ducts, have your ductwork inspected for pests. If pests are found, take immediate action to have your ducts cleaned and sanitized.

Renovation: Recent Home Improvements or In-Wall Repairs

Major renovations can also cause problems for your ductwork. Any renovation that opens the wall or disturbs a duct has the potential to knock around extra dirt, sawdust, and other particulates even though these are supposed to channel nothing but clean air. If there have been major home improvements, repairs, or renovations, inspect your ducts. Inspections are a great time for duct repairs to reseal your air ducts and keep them cleaner in the future.

Energy: Your Power Bill is Rising, but the HVAC is In Good Shape

Dust clogging is one of the primary causes of a high HVAC bill year after year. Dust on your HAC coils can seriously hinder your AC’s ability to perform – but dust in the ductwork can almost fully block airflow to each room. When your power costs began to rise, you may have already called for HVAC repairs. But if your HVAC is known to be clean and in good shape, look to the ducts. Pull the vent off and witness the mess that the dust inside has become.

If this is the case, duct cleaning can significantly increase the efficiency of your entire HVAC system and lower your yearly power bills for both heating and cooling.

Time: It’s Been Over Five Years Since Your Air Ducts Were Cleaned

Lastly, how long has it been since your ducts have been cleaned? We mentioned at the beginning that your home’s ducts should be cleaned professionally every three to five years. If it has been over five years, now is a good time to schedule a duct cleaning with our professionals. Afterward, you may notice fewer allergy symptoms in the house, less dust accumulation, and possibly a drop in your power bill.

Contact Bud Matthews Services Today for Duct Cleaning!

Regular duct cleaning prevents the spread of harmful bacteria and mold spores. These spores can enter your home through cracks in the walls, windows, doors, and even air vents. Regular duct cleaning also reduces the risk of respiratory illness.

For routine HVAC maintenance and services you can count on call the Bud Matthews team today!

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We recognize that our services are of a special and often emergency nature, and we remain fully committed to fulfilling the needs of our community even as potential demand for our services may increase with more families either choosing to or being required to remain home for extended periods of time. More importantly, the safety of our employees and customers is always our highest priority, and we recognize that heightened diligence and focus on health and safety is required during these challenging times. We are actively monitoring updates from the CDC, WHO and local health officials; and we have been proactively and continually implementing measures and developing plans to prioritize the health and well-being of our employees and customers. Including:

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