Keeping your air ducts clean can provide you with cleaner air inside your home. Whether you have a professional do it or if you do it yourself, some simple duct maintenance steps can help reduce the decay of your air vents. Air duct maintenance primarily centers on preventing moisture from entering the ducts.
The Dangers of Water Buildup in Air Ducts
Water buildup in your air ducts is never a good thing. It can promote mold, bacteria and fungi growth which may cause health problems. Moisture in air ducts, believe it or not, is not quite uncommon and can be caused by HVAC system or by other elements such as leaky pipes or leaks in your roof.
Research shows that condensation on or near cooling coils of cooling systems is a major contributor to moisture in ducts. Condensation is natural and is produced when the temperature of air in the HVAC system is below the temperature of surrounding air.
More advanced systems, when running as intended, have features to extract this moisture without spoiling the ductwork. Improperly installed HVAC systems, incorrectly serviced systems, and malfunctioning systems can lead to damage related to condensation.
Tips for Prevention
First off, you need to fix all water leaks and damage promptly.
Cooling coils extract water from the air and drain pans absorb the moisture from the system. Both coils and drain pan should be inspected regularly. Drain pans should be fully emptied as standing water in the drain pan implies the pan is not working properly. The drain pan should be free of debris which could possibly exert influence on its ability to drain appropriately.
Air ducts should be sealed off and insulated when they are in areas which are not cooled like attics, crawlspaces or garages. This helps reduce moisture by lowering the temperature difference between the air within the ducts and the air directly next to the duct.
If you are replacing your cooling system, be sure the new system is well-matched to your home. An oversized air conditioning system will likely cycle on and off more frequently, reducing its ability to extract moisture from the air.
Air ducts are like the veins of your home; they transfer heated and cooled air throughout the building to and from the HVAC and air vents. If there is water buildup in your home’s air ducts, it will seriously compromise the home’s indoor air quality and overall safety. Taking the necessary steps to prevent water buildup in ducts can save you hundreds – even thousands – of dollars and create a safe and comfortable space to live.