Spring Cleaning Is In The Air

ByVivian McNeil


Lying in bed reading an intriguing novel one evening last week, I happened to look up at the ceiling and the condition of the central air vent caught my eye. The color of the vent is white, so it was easy to see the accumulated black dust on it. Although I am not a frequent gazer at my vents, I don’t remember noticing anything like this previously. Luckily the air conditioning guy was coming that week to check out our system before we turned it on. After he checked out the system and assured me that all was in order, I showed him the vent I was concerned about. “No problem,” he commented,” I will clean it for you,” which he did quickly and thoroughly. I thanked him for his effort and as he was leaving the house, I asked him his opinion about getting my air ducts cleaned. He explained to me that he is not an expert and the company that he works for does not do vent cleaning, but he claimed that the black dust returns anyway so it might not pay to have the ducts serviced. My husband suggested to me after I told him the question I asked and the answer that I received, that this man is very nice, but he is no expert on vent cleaning and that I should consult with a reliable and recommended air quality firm. He offered to ask around for a company that is well respected in our area.

To most of us, spring cleaning means tidying the noticeable parts of our homes that we concentrate on as the snow melts and the weather gets warm. Flowers blooming and lawn mowers going are the signals for the great spring cleanup to start. Most of us call spring cleaning the organization of our closets and cabinets and our rewards are the boxes and bags of garbage and thrift shop giveaways that we have successfully purged from our homes. Dusting the cabinets and closet shelves are a given including getting rid of those pesky spider webs which hold the dead bugs that we don’t want to acknowledge actually take up residence in our homes.

That’s all fine and good, this spring maintenance that we always try to get started before the weather turns too nice to stay indoors. But there are shadows and skeletons hanging out in our HVAC (heating, ventilation, and cooling) systems that should not be ignored. Take a look at the dirt collectors in your vacuum and electric broom. From the frequency of cleaning these receptacles we can judge that there is a huge amount of dust accumulating in our homes. If one would take a black cloth and place it on a broom, smooth it on the walls, it would be shocking to see how much dust sticks to the walls. Gravity is doing little to bring these microscopic specks to the floor to sweep or vacuum and the rest of the dust and dirt that we don’t see is hiding confidently in our heating and air conditioning vents illusively. Only with the right air quality specialist does anyone have a chance for these harmful allergens to be removed correctly.

How Long Do the Vents Stay Clean After Being Serviced?

It’s a good question with no simple answer. Each family’s home and HVAC system is different from any other and even if your neighbor has the exact same home as yours your HVAC usage and abuse is not equal.

For example, if you have had recent indoor house renovations, your home would progress to the top of the list to call a reliable air duct cleaning company. All homes have dust, but the debris of home construction is something that can really go straight to the lungs. Painting and wood floor installations are the perfect tasks that cause a buildup of harmful debris in the HVAC vents of the residence. As any quality painter knows, spackling and sanding are must jobs before the paint is applied and a good sanding sends dust particles up, down and around the home getting sucked up by the vents. No matter how clean the vents in your home were prior to the home improvement job (and they probably weren’t that clean unless they were recently serviced.) they will get a good measure of dirt and other fine foreign particles during and after the renovation.

If anyone who lives in the home begins feeling unwell from an allergy that they previously did not experience, don’t be quick to blame the spring blooms and the fresh green grass. The allergy could very well be coming from within the home. The first sign of dirt on the duct covers could be an indication of mold and mildew present in the interior workings of the home and should not be ignored. Some folks believe that mold and mildew are only bathroom and basement woes, but this is not true as any reliable duct cleaner will tell you. Sneezing and coughing during or after any home renovation such as construction or painting is a sign that your HVAC system should be checked out.

 Even if you have not had a recent home renovation but are finding that as the weather gets warmer and your system is not working right it should be checked out. You can certainly start your investigation by calling your air conditioning man to see if something must be adjusted but even if he says all is in order it is not a green light. Most central air repair companies do not necessarily clean your air ducts internally. So, after you get the okay from your AC serviceman that all is fine, that’s the time an HVAC vent specialist should be called in.

Is There Anything That Can Be Done to Purify the Air in the House Before Calling an Air Duct Service?

Clean central air conditioning filters are certainly helpful in keeping your central air in optimal condition. Folks should get in the habit of changing their filters often. How often is a question that should be asked to your AC servicer since each system is different. Generally, it is advisable to change filters monthly but unless you have a reminder on your phone, it is not easy to remember to change them that often.

Don’t think that the wintertime is a period where filter changing should be ignored. Water leakage from the major vents on the ceilings is common when the vents are dirty. In the summer dirty vents prevent the system from working properly, so yes, it’s a good idea to change your filters regularly. There are also different grades of vents, and it pays to buy the better ones for your AC system.

Air purifiers are also helpful in filtering out some dust and other harmful particles. There are many different air purifiers on the market and don’t get carried away by pricey models. You may benefit more from a trustworthy air quality specialist examining your system before simply putting a Band-Aid on it.

Final Words

Spring cleaning is surely a wonderful endeavor for all of us. Rooms, closets, cabinets, and garages become roomy again after a healthy purge. Items that have been laying dormant and gathering dust can become dangerous sources of dust, as well as health and fire hazards. Piles and boxes of newspapers and magazines have been known to cause dangerous fires especially in small apartments. After you have done your spring cleaning and are satisfied that your home and closets are in order it is time to look interiorly at your home to see if there are hidden problems.

Look under your bathroom and kitchen sinks for any leaks since dampness under these venues can cause mold and mildew in your home. Some people experience a musty odor upon entering their home which could be caused by these very leaks and should not merely be camouflaged by air fresheners in your outlets and air purifiers in your living rooms. If you find that there are no leaks, or you get them repaired and you still have disturbing smells when coming into your home the next step may be a call to a verifiable HVAC vent cleaning service. You are not committing yourself by calling one in for an estimate but having a clean system not only will be effective in preventing health problems but can also save you money by increasing your system’s efficiency.

Just as spring cleaning increases your home’s efficiency so too with clean HVAC vents. By getting rid of unused boxes in your garage you will be able to walk in and out faster, saving you time to have that extra coffee that you crave. Not having to search for that lost pot lid in the kitchen cabinet or that special occasion dress that was hidden in your closet will give you extra time to try that new recipe. Yes, spring cleaning will definitely improve each person’s mental health but even more vital is making sure your HVAC system is working efficiently because this affects your physical health.

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