Duct Maintenance FAQ

Your ducts don't need a lot of regular maintenance. Day in and day out, your ducts sit there and do their job. Still, ducts do require maintenance from time to time. Duct cleaning and duct sealing are the most common forms of maintenance. These common asked questions and answers can help you determine if your ducts need maintenance and if so, what kind. 

Q: How often should ducts be cleaned?

A: Duct cleaning is not done on a regular basis and there are no specific recommendations regarding how often you should clean your ducts. Duct cleaning can improve indoor air quality and preserve the functionality of your HVAC system by preventing dirt and debris from making the system inefficient, and so ducts need to be cleaned when they become dirty. Homeowners who would like to know if their ducts are dirty can have an HVAC contractor inspect the ducts. In addition, there are signs that ducts could benefit from a cleaning. 

Q: What are the signs that your ducts need cleaning?

A: Your ducts may need cleaning if they display one or more of the following symptoms: 

  • Your home becomes dirtier when you run the heating and cooling. 
  • Your allergies are worse when you turn on the HVAC system. 
  • The interior of your ducts are coated with a light blanket of fuzz and dust.

Q: How can you tell if your ducts need to be sealed?

A: If your ducts need to be sealed, there may be one or many detectable symptoms, including

  • Uneven heating and cooling of rooms. Some rooms remain stuffy in the summer, while others become quite cool. In winter, some rooms never get warm enough while others get too warm.
  • Utility bills are too high. If you suspect that your energy bills are too high, your best resource may be your own utility company. Some utility companies will provide metrics for their customers regarding energy usage history or average usage in the area. These metrics allow customers to tell if their energy bills are increasing over time or if their energy usage is greater than their neighbors. To find out more about your average usage, call your utility company. 

Q: Can homeowners inspect their own ducts for leaks?

A: Finding leaks in the ducts can be difficult, but homeowners who wish to inspect the condition of their ducts may be able to tell if leaks are a likely problem. Ducts that are located in the attic, basement, or crawl space are relatively easy for homeowners to inspect themselves. When they inspect their ducts, they should look for kinks, holes, and tangles in the duct system. Ducts that are made of many different materials and are of different ages are likely to have this kind of problem. 

For more information about your ducts and the condition of your ducts, speak with a heating and cooling repair person. He or she will be able to answer your questions and tell you if your ducts need repair.