Spring is here. As you enjoy the returning sunshine and blooming flowers, take inventory around your home. What could use some spring cleaning now that winter is over? Have you considered sprucing up the air filters and ducts? Here’s what you need to know.
Air Filter Replacement
If it’s been more than 30 days since you checked the air filter, do so today. Look for dirt and debris collected on the filter and change it as you see fit. Wait no longer than 90 days between changes for the best results.
Why is changing the air filter so important? A clogged filter blocks airflow and leads to detrimental effects, including:
- Higher energy consumption – A dirty filter puts extra strain on HVAC equipment, forcing it to work harder to push air through. This results in higher energy consumption.
- Increased utility bills – Along with higher energy use is increased costs to operate the HVAC equipment. You might prolong the time between changing the air filter in an attempt to save money on replacement costs. However, the longer you delay changing the filter beyond the recommended 30 to 90 days, the more you pay for utility bills. In this way, the cost of filter replacement helps pay for itself.
- Greater environmental impact – You likely take steps around your home to reduce your environmental impact. Perhaps you recycle and use energy-efficient lighting and appliances. Failure to change the air filter offsets some of your other efforts by increasing the amount of energy you use to keep your home comfortable. Make filter replacement a habit and lower your home’s carbon footprint in the process.
- Shorter equipment life – Extra strain on the equipment causes parts to wear out sooner. This results in more repairs to parts such as the air handler and blower motor and potentially causes the system to break down years sooner.
- Diminished indoor air quality – One of the most important purposes of an HVAC air filter is to trap contaminants circulating through the ductwork. That way, the air coming from supply registers is cleaner and healthier than before it passed through the filter. A clogged filter has a harder time trapping contaminants successfully since larger particles can push themselves through the weave.
- Dirtier ductwork and HVAC equipment – The other primary purpose of an HVAC air filter is to prevent dust from accumulating on the ductwork walls and settling on the HVAC equipment. Dirty air filters and ducts can result in heightened allergy symptoms every time the furnace or air conditioner runs. Likewise, dust shouldn’t be permitted to settle on the HVAC equipment because it can negatively impact efficiency and equipment longevity.
Air Duct Cleaning
The connection between clean air filters and ducts is apparent. However, even if you routinely clean the air filter, the ducts may still require periodic cleaning. A properly completed job may result in improved indoor air quality, less mold growth and fewer allergens, enhanced HVAC system performance and reduced energy costs.
When Is Duct Cleaning Appropriate?
Specific circumstances when duct cleaning is appropriate include when:
- Ductwork has been subject to water damage
- Slime or mold has been observed growing in the ducts
- Dust and debris have built up along the ductwork walls and are restricting airflow
- Visible dust discharges from supply registers
- Offensive odors originate in the ductwork
Before you decide that duct cleaning is right for your situation, make sure you can answer “yes” to all of the following questions:
- Have you confirmed the ductwork to be the source of the indoor air quality problem?
- Have you identified and controlled the contamination source, such as plugging up a water leak that caused mold to grow in the ductwork?
- Has observation and testing confirmed the type and quantity of ductwork contaminants?
- Can the ductwork contaminants enter the indoor air and negatively impact indoor air quality?
- Have you considered all other options, including replacing the affected stretches of ductwork?
- Is duct cleaning the most effective solution for removing the contaminants?
If you decide that duct cleaning is right for your home, be sure to hire an HVAC contractor with knowledge and experience in this area. Choosing a reputable contractor provides the best opportunity to benefit the most from duct cleaning.
The saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” applies to both air filters and ducts. Keep your HVAC system in good working condition by scheduling routine maintenance and ductwork inspections.
For more information on air filters and ducts, or to schedule an appointment, contact Ray & Son Heating & Air Conditioning. We’ve been serving the Nashville, GA, area since 1965.
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