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Just like a tree can’t do much without its branches extending out from the main trunk, an HVAC system can’t do much without its air ducts extending out from the main HVAC equipment. In other words, your HVAC system’s air ducts are of vital importance. Without air ducts, your system can’t deliver air throughout your Los Angeles home. To ensure optimal efficiency and comfort at all times, it’s important to keep your air ducts clean. To provide some insight on how often you should have your ducts cleaned, the experts at JW Plumbing, Heating and Air want to offer these basic tips.

What Is Duct Cleaning?

Unlike carpet cleaning, which is fairly easy to see and understand, duct cleaning is a little more mysterious since you can’t see much of what’s being cleaned. Fortunately, duct cleaning by JW Plumbing, Heating and Air is actually quite straightforward and simple. Duct cleaning involves using a high-powered vacuum that is equipped with a rotating brush to remove dust from the walls of your ducts.

During duct cleaning, all but one of your ducts is blocked so that any dust that is removed can’t escape back into your home. After that, the vacuum hose is connected to the vacuum unit in the van outside. During the duct cleaning, the brush moves slowly through your ducts to ensure nothing is left behind. After the process is complete, the technician will send a remote camera through your ducts to show you the final results.

Why Is Duct Cleaning Important?

If you’ve ever discovered a thick layer of dust on a surface that isn’t often dusted, you understand why duct cleaning is so vital. Since ducts are easily accessible, any dust that gets in them can settle and remain there until professional duct cleaning is completed by JW Plumbing, Heating and Air. When air passes through your ducts, some of this dust may come loose, leading to dusty furniture and other interior surfaces.

Even worse, though, is the fact that thick layers of dust in your ducts can serve as a breeding ground for mold to grow if the dust gets wet due to moist air or leaks in your ducts. Then, instead of spreading comfort throughout your home, your HVAC system is suddenly spreading mold that can cause respiratory irritation and other problems for people and pets in your home. By keeping your ducts clean, though, you can rest easy knowing that nothing but air is in your ducts and that the air you’re breathing is clean and healthy.

Duct cleaning is also important to help maintain the efficiency of your HVAC system. If your ducts are clean, your system will be able to deliver the correct volume of air where it’s needed. This means that your home will reach the desired temperature more quickly so that your HVAC system doesn’t run as long or as often, thus saving electricity and gas.

How Often Should You Have Your Ducts Cleaned?

Dust doesn’t accumulate in ducts overnight. In fact, ducts that are new and completely free of dust may take several years to accumulate even a thin layer of dust. However, once a thin layer forms, the momentum picks up quickly. Before you know it, you’re left with choked ducts that can cause major problems. To stay on top of this accumulation, it’s recommended that you have your ducts cleaned by JW Plumbing, Heating and Air every three to five years.

One way to tell how often you need to clean your ducts is by keeping track of how often you replace your HVAC system’s air filter. If you have to replace the filter more often than the recommended 90 days, it’s likely that your home has more dust than the average home. Although much of this dust will be stopped by your air filter, you can be sure that some will find its way into your ducts, necessitating a duct cleaning closer to every three years.

Potential Causes of Dirty Ducts

Given the problems associated with dirty ducts, you may wonder how your ducts get dirty in the first place. There are three main ways that the ducts in an HVAC system accumulate excess amounts of dust.

The first way is simple natural infiltration of dust between various HVAC components. Some of the air that your system pushes throughout your home will be pulled from the area after the filter, even in a well-sealed system. Since dust can fit through even the smallest gaps, you can expect to get some dust in your ducts even when the rest of the system is in perfect condition.

Another cause of dirty ducts is inadequate air filtering. If you use the blue fiberglass filters in your HVAC system, much of the dust in your home will be able to pass through. Additionally, if you ever run your system without a filter in place, a lot of dust will be able to get into your ducts in a short time.

Finally, dust can enter your ducts through holes in your ducts or through gaps between the duct sections. Holes can occur due to animals chewing on your ducts, rust eating through the ducts or nails puncturing the ducts during home remodeling projects. Gaps between duct sections tend to happen by themselves if the ducts aren’t properly sealed when they’re first installed.

Fixing Common Problems With Your Ducts

If your ducts have holes in them that cause dust to enter and accumulate, the good news is that most duct problems can be fixed by a technician from JW Plumbing, Heating and Air. For example, small holes in ducts can often be fixed using Aeroseal duct sealant. This product attaches to the holes from the inside of your ducts so that your ducts can be repaired without having to rip into your drywall. If major problems are detected, the modular nature of air ducts means that most repairs are fairly quick and simple.

Don’t Forget Other Maintenance

In the midst of taking care of your ducts, it’s important not to neglect to maintain your other HVAC components. After all, if your other components are clean and working properly, your entire system will be able to operate optimally to provide exceptional home comfort.

The recommended maintenance schedule for most HVAC systems is once every six months or so. This is so that you can have your furnace maintained by JW Plumbing, Heating and Air before the heating season begins and your air conditioner maintained before the cooling season begins.

Keeping Your Ducts in Tip-Top Shape

At JW Plumbing, Heating and Air, everything we do is designed to help you save as much money as possible. This includes keeping your ducts clean to help your HVAC system operate more efficiently. We can also maintain, repair and install furnaces and air conditioners, ductless mini-splits and indoor air quality equipment. Plus, we can take on plumbing needs, such as water heater installation, hydro-jetting, burst pipe repair and much more.

For over 15 years, the people of Los Angeles have continued to trust the pros at JW Plumbing, Heating and Air with their home repair needs, resulting in multiple five-star customer reviews. To learn more about keeping your ducts clean, contact us at JW Plumbing, Heating and Air today.