How to Maintain Your Austin Home's Vents and Ducts

December 02, 2014

Your air vents and ducts are a key part in home heating and cooling by distributing temperature-controlled air to the rest of your home. However, some homeowners aren’t aware that ducts and vents need regular care to function their best. A buildup of dirt inside vents and ducts can not only put a strain on your HVAC system, leading to breakdowns and premature replacement, it has been known to negatively affect your home’s indoor air quality. Poor indoor air quality is known to contribute to certain health and respiratory issues. When the air in your home travels through dirty ducts and vents, it may often dislodge dirt, dust, pollen, animal dander, and other types of contaminants, carrying them all into your home—and likewise into your lungs. Knowing how to care for and clean your home’s vents and ducts may also help improve your home’s energy efficiency, as well as the health and comfort of your family.

Using and Cleaning Your Vents

Using your vents properly is an important for step toward better indoor air quality. First, make sure all the air ducts in your home are covered with air registers or grilles, which allow you to determine the amount of air flowing into a room and can help with temperature regulation. Make sure all the air vents are accessible and avoid blocking them with furniture, draperies, or stored items. Blocking vents could affect your HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) system’s function. If you want to limit heating or cooling a room that isn’t used as often, close the air registers in that room to reduce the amount of air it receives. However, do not close it tightly, and avoid closing more than 20% of all your home’s registers at any one time. This can increase strain on your HVAC system, costing you more over the long term. When you clean your home, take a moment to use your vacuum’s hose attachment to clean the grilles of your air registers; this will help to prevent dust buildup that affects their look and function.

Scheduling A Professional Duct Cleaning Service

Although you could (and should) clean your air registers, duct cleaning throughout your home is a job for professionals. During your annual furnace or air conditioner tune-up, your HVAC technician can also visually inspect the state of your ducts. Ducts do not typically need to be cleaned every year, but they should be cleaned periodically, usually when enough buildup has occurred that it can potentially affect the heating and air conditioning equipment’s operation, and the comfort and health of your home.

During a professional duct cleaning, a high-powered vacuum is fed through the ductwork of your home. In some cases, the hose also has an attachment designed to loosen caked-on dirt and debris for more efficient cleaning. The vacuum system removes debris from your ducts until they are clean once more. You can also opt for treatment that will kill or help prevent bacteria from growing inside your ducts.

In addition to duct cleaning, your expert HVAC professional can determine if your ducts leak. Leaky ducts can cost you more than necessary on your heating and cooling bills by allowing air to escape into the framework of your home, before it can reach your vents and keep you comfortable. Duct sealing will help address those costly leaks in your ducts so you can enjoy more efficient heating and cooling all year long.

When was the last time you had your ducts inspected or cleaned? If it’s been a while—or if you’ve never scheduled this important service—click over to request a visit from one of our expert HVAC technicians in your area by scheduling an appointment right now.