How to Tell if Your Air Ducts Need Cleaning

Air pollution is not limited to the outdoors alone. Indoor air pollution is a growing problem, with polluted air causing anything from mold growth in your home to health problems for those who live there. Clean air ducts can help greatly in providing clean air to your home. To ensure you’re always living with clean ducts, you must be able to tell if the ducts need cleaning by an air duct cleaning service.

Determining whether your air ducts are in need of cleaning requires you to get an up-close look at the surface of the duct covers, as well as a look inside the duct itself. A look at the registers over the ducts can often tell you right away if cleaning is required. If the register is covered with dust particles, you may have a problem. Remove the covers either by popping the unsecured covers from the wall or by removing the screws holding secured covers in place before pulling them from the walls.

Check inside the duct for signs of problems, using a flashlight to examine the space after removing the air vent. Look for any mold growth within the duct on the harder metal surfaces rather than in the insulation. Moldy insulation cannot be cleaned. If the mold is in the insulation, the insulation will need to be replaced. If you’re unsure that a suspected substance is actually mold, you can scrape off a small sample of it and send it to a microbiology-testing laboratory for identification.

While the register is off the duct, look for signs of infestation by rodents or insects in the ductwork. The most obvious sign of infestation is the presence of droppings, with rodent dropping resembling small pellets and insect dropping appearing as numerous brown and black specks. While examining the ductwork, you should also look for the presence of excessive dust. A buildup of dust will clog the duct, reducing its effectiveness when circulating air. The presence of debris within the duct can be a problem as well, also reducing airflow throughout a home.

If you see any of these issues within your ductwork, you should look into hiring a duct-cleaning service as soon as possible. A company using duct-cleaning equipment to clear your air ducts won’t necessarily remove any pollution-associated health issues experienced by those in the home. However, it will increase air circulation, helping to reduce the amount of dust particles flying around inside your living spaces.

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