What's Lurking in Your Vents?

What the Professional Say.

Many healthcare professionals suggest that it is important to have your air ducts cleaned regularly to maintain good, healthy air quality inside your home. Otherwise, particulates from dirt, dust, and other debris may cause health risks to you and your family. Also, the Environmental Protection Agency recommends that homeowners who have fuel burning heating stoves or furnaces have their ventilating systems inspected and serviced before each heating season to prevent against carbon monoxide poisoning. Furthermore, statistics show that there are over 15,500 fires in the United States every year caused by dirty dryer vents. Who knew that debris in a home’s vents could be so troublesome?

See For Yourself.

Here’s a suggestion. Go to your utility drawer and get a flashlight. Remove one of your home’s vent covers and look down inside. What do you see? If you don’t burn fuel and it doesn’t look too dirty down there, you probably don’t need a cleaning yet. However, if you see a lot of dirt and dust and other nasty things, you should probably call a cleaning professional right away. There are probably worse things down the line that you can’t see.

What most of us don’t realize is that the dirt and dust that are normally found in a home and then get sucked into the ventilating system aren’t the only things that can accumulate in our duct work. Dust mites and other, larger insects and spiders find their way there, too. Unfortunately, creepy crawlies are not the only things cleaning professionals find in ventilating systems. Rodents and other small animals are sometimes found in the air vents as well. Of course, this means that their waste is found in your duct work also. So, there’s a real possibility that not only are particles of dirt and dust being circulated through the air in your home, but bacteria from urine and feces left behind by insects and small animals may also be coursing through your home’s atmosphere. Did someone say, “Yuck!”?

The Stuff You Can’t See.

There’s still another thing to consider. Naturally occurring condensation can cause moisture to promote the growth of molds and fungi. Most of us know that these can be serious health risks. Left unchecked, some molds can gain such a foothold in a home that they are virtually impossible to get rid of. Microscopic spores from molds and fungi could be swirling through the air in your home at this very moment and you would have no way of knowing it.

Dirt and dust along with molds and fungi can cause allergies and other respiratory illnesses. For people who already have respiratory problems, these air pollutants can exacerbate preexisting respiratory diseases. Allergies and other respiratory diseases that can be caused or aggravated by allergens in a home’s atmosphere make it hard to breathe and can be complicated by infections that can be life-threatening.

Bacteria, viruses, molds, fungi, and other dangerous microbes may very well be living in the ventilation system of the house you and your family call home. Your home’s ventilation system is similar to your respiratory system. When you turn on your air conditioner or your heater, your house begins to breathe. Now, there’s a real possibility that along with dirt, dust, spider webs, and other such things, animal decay is invading your atmosphere. Everything inside your air ducts that has decayed and has broken down into tiny particles has now gained the ability to become airborne. Because your duct work is your home’s respiratory system, particulates in the air inside your duct work is now being distributed through every room in your home. Your indoor air quality has been compromised. You need help!

What About Dryer Vents?

Let’s take a look at your dryer vent. That’s something we don’t often think about. But let’s face it, dryer vents can get really nasty. Of course, lint gets trapped in your dryer vent, but so do other things left behind by the clothes we dry. Small pieces of paper left in a pocket from notes or receipts can be real fire hazards. Dirt and dust from outside your house accumulate in your dryer vent, too, and the nests of birds and rodents have even been found in dryer vents. We should also note that venting which has been improperly installed or that has been installed using faulty or inadequate parts can complicate the problem, making the situation even more dangerous.

Signs that Your Air Ducts Need Cleaning

As we’ve established, the benefits of air duct and dryer vent cleaning can have a big impact on the quality of air in your home, most notably in a financial and health sense. But even if you know air duct cleaning is something that you should do, knowing when to do it is another question entirely. Below you’ll find a few clear indicators that can alert you of the need to get on the phone with a professional right away.

  • Visible Signs of Mold Growth - If simply left to its own devices this will never end well, causing problems for both you and your home heating and cooling units. As previously mentioned, mold growing in air ducts will lead to mold spores being distributed right around your home.
  • Own Several Shedding Pets - If you own a number of animals that shed large amounts of hair, this can force your air ducts to become clogged with pet dander, reducing the efficiency with which they perform.
  • Evidence of Animal Infestation? - If you have seen evidence of rodents or insects living in your air ducts, it’s definitely time to get them cleaned by a qualified professional.
  • Clogged With Dirt And Dust - Even air ducts that were installed perfectly and are well cared for will gather dust. It’s your responsibility to ensure that this doesn’t spiral out of control and cause deteriorating living conditions inside your home.

Wrapping up, it’s easy to see that the cost of an inspection and possible subsequent cleaning of a home’s ventilation system and dryer vent is vastly outweighed by these three important things:

  1. The improvement of your home’s indoor air quality;
  2. The peace of mind you will gain by knowing that your family is safer from the risk of respiratory disease;
  3. The knowledge that your home has a much lower risk of being destroyed by fire.

If you feel that it’s time to have your air ducts or dryer vents inspected call us today. Our friendly professional will inspect your vents and duct work and provide you with a free evaluation and quote. Don’t hesitate call us today.