How Do I Know if My Air Ducts Need to Be Cleaned

1 minute read

Both short-term rental property owners and property managers know that heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems require frequent maintenance to keep working at peak efficiency—especially during summer heat waves. However, many people forget about air ducts when addressing HVAC maintenance issues..

Air ducts are an integral part of the HVAC system, carrying cool air from the air handler to the exhaust ports in the home and extracting hot air from the intakes throughout the house. When these ducts form leaks, the efficiency of the HVAC system suffers. Contaminants in an air duct can also affect HVAC system efficiency as well as indoor air quality (IAQ), and may necessitate the need for air duct cleaning.

One question that many short-term rental property owners have is: “Is air duct cleaning a waste of money, or is it something I should be doing regularly?” The answer is that air duct cleaning isn’t typically a necessity. As pointed out by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “There is no evidence that a light amount of household dust or other particulate matter in air ducts poses any risk to your health.”

However, there are some situations where cleaning vents in the home may be necessary—such as when the contaminants in the ducts risk causing health hazards or damage to your HVAC system and home. How can you tell if your air ducts need cleaning? Here are some warning signs that your HVAC system’s air ducts need to be cleaned:

How Do I Know if My Air Ducts Need to Be Cleaned?

  • Musty or Unusual Odors in the Home. If musty odors permeate the house that are especially noticeable immediately after entering, there may be mold problems in the home. If in the air ducts, these unusual odors may be distributed throughout the entire building, making them hard to pin down. So, strong musty odors may warrant a closer inspection of your air ducts. Localized odors, on the other hand, may indicate mold growth in a specific area of the building.
  • Visible Mold Growth in Air Ducts or on Duct Covers. One obvious sign that air ducts need cleaning (and sterilization) is if mold starts to grow on the inside of the duct or on your duct covers. This is an HVAC maintenance issue that demands near-immediate attention, as mold spores released through the ventilation ducts can cause health problems.
  • Rodents or Insects Crawling in and out of Air Ducts. If pests are spotted crawling into or out of air ducts in your home, odds are that they have a nest or food source somewhere in there. In either case, this is a situation that calls for an exterminator and a thorough air duct cleaning. This may call for an expert HVAC maintenance expert, as the nest or food source is likely to be in a part of the air duct that isn’t easy to access without the right tools. Additionally, pests such as rats can chew through the thin aluminum used in many air ducts, causing damage and reducing HVAC system efficiency. So, pest infestations should be dealt with as soon as possible to limit damage.
  • Dirt/Dust Discharge from Vents. If there is visible discharge coming from air duct vents in your home, that’s a pretty clear sign that there is excessive buildup of contaminants. In such cases, cleaning vents and air ducts should be a priority to improve indoor air quality for the home.

Once again, air duct cleaning is not something that usually needs to be done on a set schedule. Rather, cleaning vents and air ducts for your HVAC system should be done on an “as-needed” basis based on the warning signs above.

At Mendbnb our skilled multi-skilled technicians can help resolve all of your corrective and preventive maintenance short-term rental property needs. For a Free short-term rental property assement contact us today.