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Time for Spring Cleaning: Don’t Neglect Your Vents, Ducts and Filters
With spring peeking around the corner, now’s the time to engage in some much-needed spring cleaning. You may automatically think about vacuuming, washing the drapes, cleaning the windows and dusting behind the furniture (all great pursuits by the way!) but there are other important tasks that you may not realize you’re neglecting.
From vents to filters to ducts, these are perhaps some of the more vital aspects of your home that you shouldn’t ignore. Here are a few things you should clean this spring to keep your family safe and healthy:
Routine air duct cleaning is a must for any home. Air quality is the number one reason you should have those ducts cleaned. The exact schedule of cleaning will vary on your usage. If you have pets, live in a congested area or have family members who suffer from asthma and allergies, you should get them cleaned more often. When is duct cleaning especially critical?
- When you see evidence of mold growth. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends having your ducts cleaned if you see substantial mold growth inside your hard surface ducts, which includes sheet metal and other components of your heating and cooling system. You often can’t readily see evidence of mold, which is why it’s important to have a professional check. Not everything that looks like mold actually IS mold, so testing should be done.
- Excessive Dust. Over the years, dust, dirt and debris can build up to an excessive level, causing all of that stuff to get blown into your living space via supply registers.
- Allergies. Some dust collection is normal and shouldn’t necessarily be cause for concern; however, if anyone in your home is prone to respiratory illness, get your air ducts inspected.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, there are an estimated 2,900 clothes dryer fires in residential buildings, causing five deaths, 100 injuries, and $35 million in property loss each year. Furthermore, poor dryer venting and maintenance has resulted in $100 million each year in damages. That’s why you should clean out the lint trap on your dryer after every load or two, and have your dryer vent cleaned out at least once a year to prevent fires from happening. Dryer vents that are allowed to accumulate with dust, fiber and lint can also lead to inefficient use of your appliance, costing you more money than you should be spending in energy bills.
Most furnace filters should be changed every couple of months to three months. Always check the manufacturer requirements. Spring is a good reminder to change out those filters so you experience the highest level of efficiency possible from your furnace. You may need to change or clean it more frequently if you smoke, have pets, or live in an area where excessive construction is taking place.
You may realize you need a filter change when you notice no air flow emerging from the unit or it takes longer to raise or lower the temperature in the house.
Happy Spring Cleaning!