For homeowners that have a central HVAC system, this means that air ducts are heavily used throughout the entire year. During the winter, your furnace is keeping you warm, and that warmed air is pumped out by the fan in your furnace, through the air ducts to keep the home comfortable
During the summer, your furnace hands the work off to your air conditioner. The condenser outside your home cools the air, but the fan in your furnace still blows to pump it throughout the home.
The air ducts, once again, have the responsibility of making sure your home stays cool and comfortable. But while people always know when there’s something wrong with the AC or the furnace, dirty air ducts don’t seem like much of a problem. In fact, it can be a big risk for people living in a home, and here’s how.
The Efficiency Problem
The first thing that you’ll suffer if you have dirty air ducts is higher heating and cooling bills to pay every month. Dirty air ducts have a big impact on the flow of air for both cool and hot air throughout your home. If the dirt in the air duct doesn’t stay there, it can eventually move into your furnace itself, and directly impact the power of the fan.
Once this happens, both your furnace and your air condenser have to work longer and harder to achieve the desired temperature you have for your home. The increased operation means higher energy bills, both for electricity and for gas if you use a gas furnace.
Beyond just plain old dirt, contagion is another risk that you run with dirty air ducts. Dust, after all, is not a single, uniform substance.
Dust is made up of dirt, particles of human skin, the dander and fur from cats, dogs and other pets if they’re present, and even waste from a litter box.
This type of dirt, under the proper conditions, can not only get lodged in the air ducts but even act as a “safe space” or breeding ground for bacteria. And every time air moves through the air ducts, that bacteria gets efficiently spread throughout every space in the home.
For people sensitive to sinus infections, this can create a perpetual sickness in the home.
For people with asthma issues, dirty air ducts can make life very difficult.
In addition to the danger of simple particles in the air, allergens and other contaminants that are brought in from outside, by a condenser, for example, can then be quickly spread throughout the home if they get past the filter and lodge in the air ducts.
A dirty air duct can take the safe, protective space of a home, and increase the suffering of someone with asthma until the air ducts are cleaned out.
If you see dust or dirt forming on the grill or register of your vents, or you see a puff of dust every time the AC or heat comes on, it means you have dirty air ducts and are in need of duct cleaning.