It’s good to have clean ducts in the home, not just to keep everything working correctly, but also to keep you and your family from getting sick. The cleaner the vents and ducts, the more efficiently the system works and the less likely the unit has of spreading harmful germs through the air. No matter how you slice it, having a clean HVAC system will benefit you and your home. The best way to do this is to clean out the vents yourself, or to hire a pro.
“Flu can be serious, and it kills tens of thousands of Americans each year. Vaccination is easier and more convenient than ever, so get yourself and your family protected.” - Tom Frieden
When to Get Your Ducts Cleaned
Some people tend to think “is duct cleaning a waste of money?” If you’re breathing air indoors right now the answer is always “no.” There are some telltale signs that your ducts and vents need cleaning pronto. Should you notice anything like these examples below, it’s important to have your system cleaned out. Here are some examples of what to look for.
- System is louder than usual
- Clanging noises
- Buildup of dirt or debris
- More dust than usual
- Not heating/cooling properly
- If you have an older unit
- If your unit is in need of frequent repairs
- If you notice any respiratory problems in your family
How the Flu Spreads Through Ventilation
Because influenza can be an airborne pathogen, it is possible for the virus to move throughout an HVAC system. This can be especially problematic for large buildings or offices. That’s why air duct cleaning companies take such care when cleaning out ventilation systems. It’s important for everyone’s personal health.
A guide published by the ASHRAE society states that cleaning your ducts and vents is one of the most important things you can do, and mostly for health reasons. It also tells you how often you should clean your air ducts. This will remove any problems in your ventilation system that could cause potential health risks. The EPA says you should have your unit cleaned immediately if you notice any of the following:
- Insect infestation
- Rodent infestation
- Too much moisture
It’s also important to know how to clean air ducts yourself. Should you be in need of low maintenance work, you can easily change the filters out yourself and give the system a light cleaning. Be sure to do the following:
- Locate all vents in your home
- Turn off the fan
- Dust off the surface
- Check behind the vents
- Apply slightly moist paper towels if dirty
- You can use a wet paintbrush if very dirty
- Sweep out air registers
- Fasten back when complete
- Vacuum the air boot
Even OSHA released a report on how to combat flu viruses, and although it had mainly to do with workplace practices, cleaning out the vents was also included. Air duct cleaning companies will certainly adhere to OSHA guidelines in cleaning out offices. And the guide certainly has a few things to say about combating the flu virus.
- Wipe down all surfaces
- Encourage employees to get vaccinated
- Encourage sick workers to stay at home
- Emphasize hygiene
- Have at least one “Employees Must Wash Hands” sign
- Make sure the HVAC system is working correctly
Another lesser-known way to deal with the flu virus in vents and ducts is through UV lights. There are certain models that function just like regular lights, except that they possess antimicrobial qualities in the stream that kill of bacteria and strains of influenza. This can be extremely beneficial if you’re trying to clean out an air duct vent that is deep or otherwise hard to reach.
Looking for ways to stay safe and healthy this flu season? Are your ducts and vents in need of a solid cleaning? The first step is getting in touch with a pro for a free estimate.
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