Homeownership is expensive – there’s no getting around that. So we totally understand how overwhelming it is to be presented with one more thing, one more professional service that’s going to cost you money. But when it comes to air duct cleaning, you may actually lose money if you neglect it.
To put things in perspective, first you need to know that while air duct cleaning is an important service to purchase, it doesn’t need to be done every month or even every year to be effective. Most experts recommend having your ducts cleaned only once every 3-5 years, perhaps every two years if anyone in your home suffers from allergies or is especially sensitive to dust.
Air duct cleaning should always take place after any type of fire damage or if you’ve recently had a rodent infestation that occurred in the ducts. Dirty ducts are also more likely to harbor mold, so you might want to consider this service in conjunction with mold remediation. Other than in those specific examples, a gap between duct cleanings of up to five years is not unreasonable.
However, having your air ducts cleaned on a regular schedule of your choosing is a worthwhile investment because it can save you money in the long run. Here’s how:
Improved HVAC Efficiency
The more efficient your HVAC (heating and cooling) system, the less energy it consumes to work. Everyone appreciates saving money on home heating and cooling costs. It’s a benefit that is felt every month and can dramatically improve the “cushion” in our budgets. Plus, using less energy is great for the planet!
Longer HVAC Lifespan
When air ducts become too clogged with dust and debris, your HVAC system has to work much harder to circulate air. Beyond increasing your energy costs, this also puts excess wear and tear on the machinery and can shorten its lifespan. Keeping your ducts clean, therefore, saves you money on repairs and replacements throughout your time in the home.
There are a couple of reasons that regular air duct cleaning can help prevent the growth of mold in your home. Your HVAC system is responsible for moving air throughout the space as well as pulling air in from outside and venting it back outside, treating that air along the way by making it warmer or cooler and removing dust and debris via air filters.
When ducts become clogged and the flow of air throughout the system is impeded, you may find that dampness accumulates in corners of your home where a good breeze is necessary to keep things dry. This often includes rooms like the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room because they are all exposed to water on a regular basis. Standing water = mold growth.
The other way that clogged ducts can influence mold growth is simply that the gunk can hold onto water. Our air naturally contains a certain amount of moisture – in fact, when the air is too dry we become exceedingly uncomfortable. What you don’t want is for that moisture to be absorbed by the dusty build-up. This allows mold to flourish in the ducts and be circulated throughout your home by the system.
What’s the upshot of this unfortunate correlation? Having air ducts cleaned regularly reduces your chances of having to shell out big bucks on mold remediation as well.
Reduced Healthcare Costs
It’s easy to blame your case of the sniffles on that rude coworker who keeps coughing on your desk. But he or she might not always be the culprit. Dirty air ducts are known to exacerbate allergies and asthma, irritate the lungs and throat, and cause itchy, watery eyes. When bacteria or viruses get mixed in with the gunk in your air ducts, they too are circulated throughout your home with the air, leading to an increase in illnesses.
Keeping those ducts clean can therefore improve your health. It could reduce your trips to the doctor as well as the associated spending on medicines and other remedies for discomfort. It’s hard to put a price on feeling healthy, but it sure adds to your quality of life. And not only will you feel better, but you will also be less likely to lose wages due to frequent sick days.
While air duct cleaning alone can’t eliminate all dust from your home or resolve all issues of respiratory distress, it certainly helps. And while there may be other problems that affect the cost of heating and cooling your home, keeping your air ducts clean is an important step along the path to better energy efficiency.
When you add professional air duct cleaning to your list of home maintenance tasks every 3-5 years, you’ll be making a small financial outlay that can reduce your overall cost of home ownership and pay massive dividends in terms of health and happiness. That’s totally worth making the appointment for one more thing.