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How Often Do My Air Ducts Need to Be Cleaned? A Step-by-Step Guide

July 06, 2023

Do Air Ducts Need To Be Clean?

If air can travel through a duct, so can dust! Air regularly flows through your ducts, and so can dust and dirt, which can accumulate over time. To ensure your family doesn’t suffer from indoor air quality issues and aggravated allergies during Arizona’s season changes, your air ducts need to be clean.

How clean is clean enough for my air ducts? The good news for Phoenix homeowners is that a small amount of debris inside air ducts won’t make the home unhealthy or dangerous—the air quality will pretty much be the same. Homeowners should plan to evaluate their ducts annually and schedule service when their allergies or those of their family members aren’t improving, coughing or sneezing becomes consistent, or when they notice other air quality issues.

According to the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA), homeowners should get their air ducts checked by a professional at least once a year. There are factors that could require duct cleaning more often, which include

  • Excessive dust
  • Mold growth
  • Pests
  • Family members who smoke
  • Furry pets

If you’re dealing with a problem inside your air ducts or you can’t remember the last time your ducts were cleaned, call Patrick Riley | Isley’s to have your air ducts inspected and cleaned on the double! Our technicians clean deep inside your air ducts without disassembling them.

Signs Your Air Ducts Need to Be Cleaned

Sign #1: There’s Excessive Dust Around Your Home

Your air ducts need to be cleaned when you notice excessive dust around your home. When dust circulates throughout your ducts, it gets sent back out into your home, and you’ll notice an increase in the dust on your furniture, counters, and other not-so-normal spots. Dusty air vents recirculate bacteria, dust, and microscopic debris that can cause your family to feel unwell and increase allergies to dust and pollen.

Home improvement projects and renovations can also cause dust and debris to make their way inside your vents. From working on drywall to moving that dusty grand piano, these types of tasks contribute to a large amount of debris getting inside of your air ducts. If you notice more dust than you’re used to seeing, this is a clear sign that your ducts need professional inspection.

Sign #2: There’s Visible Mold or Mildew Growth

When you see mold or mildew around your air vents, your ducts need to be cleaned. During Arizona’s cold months, warm air flowing through your air ducts can make for damp and humid places for mold and mildew to develop. Mold can be very hard to locate in ducts inside your walls, but when it’s there, it can cause a number of health problems, foul smells, and surface discoloration.

If the mold and mildew growth in your ducts isn’t eliminated, mold can grow and spread its odor and bacteria throughout the home. Severe mold can also cause air vents to warp, so be sure to call a Patrick Riley | Isley’s Cooling & Heating expert to not only clean your ducts but also fix any broken or loose ones.

Sign #3: Pests Have Appeared

Have you recently called pest control to get rid of bugs, rodents, or other critters from your home? If so, there’s a chance that these pests were causing mischief inside your vents, and it’s time to get your air ducts cleaned. Pests can leave behind droppings, husks, and harmful bacteria that can carry disease and make for unhealthy air coming through your vents.

Always keep in mind that pests won’t explore anywhere that’s cool and dry. Like mold, pests love dark, damp places because the moisture helps keep them alive, which means they can stay there as long as they like. Be sure to get your Arizona HVAC system inspected before pests get out of control.

Sign #4: People Smoke in Your Home

If you notice cigarette smoke lingering in your home, it’s a sign that your air ducts need to be cleaned.

Smoke disperses throughout closed spaces, riding throughout your air ducts from room to room, and leaving behind a sticky residue on your air vents. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the harmful chemicals and compounds from smoking take a long time to dissipate from the house. If possible, smoke outside the home so that the compounds don’t circulate throughout your HVAC system. If you do smoke inside, it’s a great idea to have your HVAC system and ducts cleaned regularly to keep your home’s air fresh and clean.

Sign #5: You Have Pets

We love our-legged family members and welcome them in our homes, but we may not consider how they can impact our air ducts. Dogs, cats, and other furry animals shed their hair, which finds its way into registers and grilles and clings to the inside of your ducts. When you have pets, your air ducts should be cleaned regularly.

To improve the air quality of your Phoenix home, you can also purchase an air purifier that works alongside your current HVAC filter to trap more fine particles, especially hair and dander.

Are You Due for Air Duct Cleaning? Call Patrick Riley | Isley’s Cooling and Heating

The air we breathe is directly linked to our health, which is why ensuring your home circulates clean air is so important—it’s part of creating a safe and healthy home for your family. Clean air ducts help reduce allergies, asthma, and other respiratory issues. If you have pets, are dusting more often, or have pests exploring your home, these are signs that you should have a professional inspect your ducts.

The pros at Patrick Riley | Isley’s recommends an air duct inspection once every year. We service homes across the Greater Phoenix Area. You can ask your tech to look at your vents while they’re doing an annual checkup of your AC system. Our 21-Point AC Checkup Checklist and an air duct cleaning will keep your HVAC system running efficiently for years.

Written by: Patrick Riley Cooling, Heating, & Plumbing

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By Ty Lindsay

Ty Lindsay is the Director of Field Operations at Patrick Riley | Isley’s and a 15-year veteran of the plumbing and HVAC trades. In 2010, Ty earned his Journeyman’s plumbing license. He became a Master Plumber five years later and earned his Journeyman HVAC technician’s license that same year. Ty’s breadth of knowledge in plumbing and HVAC includes both residential and commercial work. He’s been a loyal member of the Patrick Riley | Isley’s team since 2016.