Is Dirty Ductwork Making Your Family Sick?

Plus what to do if your ducts are harboring harmful particles

Upon retirement, many people report an increase in illnesses, particularly respiratory-related illnesses marked by coughing and wheezing. The reason: the retiree is spending more time in a home with dirty air. You and your family may also be similarly affected by poor air quality if your air conditioner’s ductwork is not clean and properly sealed. Here are a few things you can do to make sure your ductwork isn’t causing your family unnecessary illnesses and allergic reactions.

How Do Ducts Work?

Residential ductwork is typically composed of insulated flexible tubes that carry heated and cooled air from your central HVAC unit to each of the rooms of your house. While regularly replacing your air filter will prevent the majority of harmful particulates from collecting in your ducts, over time residual particles will build up. Given enough time, you could have several centimeters worth of dirt, dust, dead skin cells, and a number of other particles you’d rather not breathe built up on the inside of your ducts. As air flows through, some of those particles are picked up and distributed to your living spaces.

Inflamed Sinuses

Since all of the dirt and dust that builds up in your ductwork gets blowing into your living space, each breath you take in your home could contain some of these particles. As they enter your nasal passages and work their way into your sinuses, they can cause inflammation and possibly infection. Sinus infections can be a very painful condition with serious complications if not treated properly.

Allergies & Asthma

Another problem with dirt and debris accumulating in your ducts is that they can contain many harmful allergens, such as dust, mold, pollen, and pet dander. If you or a family member or allergic to any of these substances or suffers from asthma, breathing dirty air could initiate or worsen a reaction. If you notice that your allergy or asthma symptoms are worse at home and improve when you leave the house, your ducts could be the culprit in your allergy symptoms.

Respiratory Infections

Along with allergens, viruses, bacteria, and fungi can all thrive in the accumulated layers of dirt within your ducts. Whenever air passes through your HVAC system, it will blow some of these germs into your living spaces. As a result, you may find you and your family members come down with respiratory infections more often than otherwise would be expected.

Why You Need Duct Cleaning

One of the easiest ways to avoid respiratory issues brought on by poor indoor air quality in your home, is to have a professional duct cleaning every three years, at a minimum. Not only can this help you avoid or reduce these health problems, but also increase the efficiency of your heating and cooling system, saving you some money on your electricity bill each month. Additionally, a cleaner system means less maintenance and repairs over the life of your unit.

Keeping your ducts clean should be thought of as a regular part of your home maintenance program. Professionally-cleaned ducts can improve your health and deliver a cleaner, more comfortable indoor air environment. For information about our duct cleaning services, or to schedule a ductwork cleaning, give AirNow Cooling & Heating a call today!