“Keep your home’s air conditioner filters and vents clean,” you’ve always been taught. It makes sense, right? You sweep, vacuum, and dust the rest of the house to keep it clean and dust-free. Whether it’s a residential or commercial HVAC, air quality is essential.

Ducts, vents, and registers can be located in hard to reach places such as crawl spaces, attics, and basements. How do you get them clean?

East Texas Refrigeration, in Tyler, Texas—HVAC specialists for over ten years—have a few thoughts before you embark down this road.

First off, you might be surprised to learn that cleaning your ducts and vents not only isn’t a spring/fall cleaning necessity but might not even be a necessity at all!

(Exceptions to this are if someone in your household has serious dust or mold allergies or asthma. At that point, it’s good to call in specialists in AC/furnace maintenance and servicing.)

We’ve been taught to clean where dust settles, and it makes sense that it settles in your heating and air systems. Especially when air conditioners are sitting unused during the winter, and furnaces are doing the same in the summer.

However, it’s more complicated than that.

Studies have found that unnecessarily cleaning vents can cause more dust and allergens to enter your home than if they were left undisturbed. The EPA recommends not unnecessarily cleaning or disturbing these areas.

According to the EPA’s website: “Duct cleaning has never been shown to actually prevent health problems.” When studied, it was found that most of the potential dust/pollutants moving through the duct systems stuck to the surfaces, and so didn’t cause much, if any, damage to air quality.

This is why it’s important to monitor and maintain your ventilation and duct systems. Regular checking—furnace and AC maintenance— is the only way to really know if they need more than surface-level cleaning.

Monitoring will help you decide whether you need to call a professional such as East Texas Refrigeration, or whether you can do the cleaning yourself.

Keep in mind, most households don’t have the right tools and accessories to clean vents, ducts, and registers properly. Rotary brushes and high powered vacuums are necessary, and it’s easy to do expensive damage if you don’t know what you’re doing.

How to tell whether your vents need professional HVAC services:

  • Keep an eye and nose out for mold or mildew or a moldy/mildewy smell when your AC or furnace is running. Pay attention to potential damp areas, such as leaky pipes, around HVAC systems where mold or mildew could grow. Mold and mildew can do a lot of damage to air quality. It’s important to keep an eye on problem-areas, especially if your household has elderly or young members.
  • Check to make sure you haven’t developed issues with insects or rodents. An infestation of rodents or insects can block ducts and cause messy problems in the ductwork, as well as your home. This is definitely not a job to tackle yourself! Call in the professionals on this one.
  • Sometimes, HVAC systems can become clogged with outside environmental debris. In this case, it’s also advisable to contact a professional. The right tools make all the difference in these situations.
  • If you own an older home with difficult-to-access ductwork, it might be good to have professionals come in and take a look.

Professionals like East Texas Refrigeration offer HVAC service plans to help with covering the cost of cleaning and servicing your heating and cooling systems. We also provide 24/7 emergency services if you’ve got a job that needs attention right away.

Keep an eye out for fraudulent services offering discounts to clean your duct systems. Many of these offers prey on people’s worries about dirty ducts and can lead to high-cost cleanings that aren’t necessary. Ensure you’re dealing with professional, quality HVAC professionals such as those in Tyler at East Texas Refrigeration.

Don’t forget to replace your AC filters often and as recommended. Remember, you may need to replace them more often if you are a pet owner or suffer allergies. Air filters do their job when clean and replaced regularly.

Here’s what you can clean and how:

  • Vacuum out your registers before you turn on your systems and use them. Most dust and household allergens are likely to have been collected closest to the register/vent. Vacuum and wipe down with a damp cloth before use.
  • Sweep and vacuum return air registers too.
  • Cover registers and return-air ducts when you’re doing home renovation projects. Especially sanding jobs! Keeping your HVAC systems clean and dust-free is important, but it’s not as necessary as many would think. Keep the outsides spaces vacuumed, wiped, and free of dust. And call the professionals for the big cleaning jobs!