Buying a home is a massive investment and one that you want to do everything you can to protect. Everything about it requires some form of upkeep or another, from the roof, siding and even proper lawn care goes a long way in boosting the value of your investment. While all these things are important, proper care of your heating and air conditioning system (or HVAC) can be the most important of all.
If you think about it, it makes sense that your HVAC system needs the most care and maintenance. No matter the temperature outside, your HVAC system is running hard to keep you comfortable and keep your home livable in any condition. But even the most attentive homeowner tends to make a mistake that can prove the most costly, not only to his or her wallet, but also his or her safety. What is that often overlooked detail? Proper care of the ducts and vents.
When people think of maintenance for an AC unit or furnace, many put the ducts and vents out of their mind; however, just because they do not have compressors or fan motors does not mean that they cannot have an impact on breakdowns and problems in the operation of your AC unit or furnace. Ducts and vents, over time and constant usage, become dirty. They become magnets for all types of contaminants like dirt, pet dander, dust, cigarette smoke or drywall dust. When a buildup of these contaminants occur, the air quality in your home becomes significantly worse. Contaminated air consistently becomes circulated throughout a person’s home and this leads to him or her developing problems with allergies, autoimmune disorders and other types of respiratory conditions. If a person is waking up every morning feeling congested or appears to be getting headaches with increased regularity, it may be a sign to check the vents and air ducts. By cleaning air ducts regularly, a homeowner can ensure himself or herself not only cleaner air quality, but a healthier living environment. But it does not stop there.
If a vent or duct gets too dirty, much of the energy used to maintain a home’s temperature ends up wasted because the AC unit or the furnace feels it has to work harder to properly circulate the air that is getting trapped by the dirty ducts and vents. This will lead to much higher power bills and a greater probability of your system breaking down. By maintaining a clean system, your AC unit or furnace will be able to run cleanly and efficiently and your costs can go down considerably. Unfortunately, sometimes the hard part about cleaning air vents and ducts are simply knowing when it is time to do it.
When it comes time to clean the vents and ducts, there will be a few warning signs to pay attention to. Because vents collect dust and debris, you should be able to tell if the vent needs cleaned simply by looking to see if it looks dusty. If you run a cloth over the vents and it comes back grimy, it also might mean that the interior of the duct needs taken care of. For health reasons, it is always a good idea to look inside the duct and make sure there is not a dirt buildup.
Sometimes, there is not a visual sign when it comes time to clean. When this happens, there are a few things you can look for. One important thing to take a look at is your power bill. If you notice a slight uptick in your bill, it may mean that your HVAC system is not running as efficiently as it should be. As mentioned earlier, this could be a direct result of debris build up in the ducts and it may be a good idea to schedule an HVAC professional to come and take a look.
Another sign is unexpected respiratory problems. Poor air quality being circulated inside your home can lead to serious problems and if you or a family member experience constant morning congestion or coughing and sneezing more regularly, it could be a direct result of a dirty HVAC system. If this goes unchecked, a simple cough or sneeze can lead to something more serious and you need to call a professional to come out and check things out.
Being a homeowner can be a double-edged sword. It marks a large, personal growth moment but it also comes with countless responsibilities. While each responsibility has its own importance, making sure you have clean air circulating throughout your home is one of the more crucial ones. Not only can dirty air ducts and vents cost you money you could otherwise be saving, but it can also affect the health and quality of life of you or your loved ones. Don’t let a preventable problem create life-altering problems. Check your vents and ducts regularly and make your home a clear-air home only.