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Spring cleaning is a tradition shared by many cultures around the globe. When the trees begin to bud and the birds start singing, many people feel an urge to shake off the dreariness of the winter months by clearing cobwebs and giving their home a good scrubbing.

You shouldn’t neglect your heating and cooling system while you are sweeping and dusting and sprucing up your home’s interior. Keeping your air ducts clean can help control airborne dust, reduce seasonal allergies, and help your cooling system run more efficiently.

Signs Your Air Ducts Need Cleaning

The easier it is for air to flow through your home’s ductwork, the easier it is for your cooling system to deliver cool, comfortable air to your living spaces. If there are any major blockages in your air ducts, it could hinder air flow, straining your system and increasing your energy bill.

Air duct cleaning may not be warranted in every home. However, if you see any of these signs, it may be time to give your ductwork a good cleaning.

Rodent Droppings or Insect Carcasses

If you see dead bugs or rodent feces in your air ducts, they probably require immediate attention. Not only will byproducts enter your home, potentially causing health problems for you and your family, they could also be a sign that insects have nested in your ducts. Rodent droppings usually mean there are rodents present, and these critters can cause serious damage to your air ducts if not kept in check. If you see these contaminants, you should call an exterminator first, and then contact a professional to help clean your ductwork.


Mold can be a serious problem for your health and for your HVAC system. Excess moisture trapped in your air ducts will cause mold to develop and grow. Excessive moisture could be damaging your entire HVAC system. Consider any signs of mold a serious issue. If you detect a musty smell coming from your air vents, contact a professional to inspect your system.

Excessive Allergy Symptoms

If you or a member of your family suffers from excessive allergy-related issues, you may want to consider having your air ducts professionally cleaned, especially if you have taken other steps to decontaminate your home without success.

Dust and Dirt

If you notice significant amounts of dust and debris in your vents, it could be a sign your ducts need to be cleaned.

Will Cleaning My Ducts Make a Difference?

For most homeowners, complete professional duct cleaning is unnecessary. In some cases, the process can loosen packed down dust and debris may cause even more particles to enter your home.

Unless your ducts are contaminated with mold or harmful pests, or your ducts are significantly clogged with dust, negatively affecting the efficiency of your system, you probably don’t need a thorough, professional cleaning. Instead, a few do-it-yourself chores and regular system maintenance should be more practical and effective.

Before you call a company to professionally clean your home’s ductwork, try completing these simple tasks.

  1. Change your air filters. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and guidelines to help you choose the proper filter for your system. Change filters regularly to keep your system clean.
  2. Clean around your condenser unit. Keep the area around your outdoor condenser free from tall grass, trash, and other yard debris. The system needs clear space to maintain proper air flow. Also, a qualified HVAC technician will perform regular maintenance and cleaning of your whole unit, including the condenser.
  3. Keep indoor vents clear. When you are cleaning your home’s interior, be sure to vacuum dust and any debris away from indoor supply vents. Also, make sure your vents are clear of furniture, draperies, and clutter. This will help ensure your system can maintain proper air flow.
  4. Use interior fans and dehumidifiers to reduce humidity. Be sure to use exhaust fans when showering. Also, consider a basic dehumidifier to help keep mold from developing and spreading in your home and HVAC system.
  5. Have your home checked annually by a qualified HVAC technician. He or she will perform regular maintenance to keep your system running smoothly and effectively. Regular maintenance will also detect any potential problems that may be developing.

If you notice poor airflow or excessive dust in your home, you should request an evaluation of your stem by qualified local HVAC technician. Properly installed air ducts seldom need professional cleaning. However, be sure to hire an experienced technician to do the job properly when it becomes necessary.