How Often Should Air Ducts Be Cleaned?

examining air ductsWith all the smog, pollen, and dust that can end up in a Los Angeles home, it might seem like cleaning your air ducts should be a part of regular HVAC maintenance. In reality, duct cleaning is necessary only in a few specific situations.

Why Duct Cleaning Isn’t Routine

As long as you’re replacing your HVAC filters on schedule and cleaning your air vents and return air grilles every year, very little dust and debris will find its way into your ducts. Preventing duct leaks by keeping your duct joints sealed and repairing damage helps, too. In a well maintained HVAC system, the ducts can go many years without a cleaning and still remain largely clear of debris.

That said, problems such as a roof leak or pest infestation can show up any time and adversely affect your ducts. To head off major damage and protect your indoor air quality, have your ducts professionally inspected every three to five years by a technician certified by the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA).

Signs Your Ducts Need a Cleaning

If it’s been more than five years since your ducts were checked or you notice signs that suggest your ducts are dirty, schedule an inspection. Puffs of dust, pet hair or unpleasant odors coming from your air vents when the heating or cooling kicks on are clear signs of dirty ducts. Excessive dust on your furniture is another.

To spot other signs, take a look inside the accessible parts of your ducts for:

  • A buildup of dust or moisture,
  • Signs of mold, such as patches of discoloration or a musty odor,
  • Signs of pests, such as droppings, nests, hair or dead insects.

It’s also a good idea to schedule a duct inspection after any major remodeling or when you move into a new home and you’re not sure how long ago the ducts were checked.

To find out more about how often ducts should be cleaned or to schedule a duct inspection, contact us at Reliance Home Services anywhere in the Greater Los Angeles area.