If you suffer from allergies, then you know just how annoying sneezing, coughing, and red, itchy eyes can be. In this article, our Ottawa technicians explore the benefits and effectiveness of air duct cleaning for treating allergies and alleviating allergy symptoms.
What is Air Duct Cleaning?
First, let's define what air duct cleaning actually is before we discuss if it can help with allergies. Air duct cleaning means removing dirt, debris, and even allergens from the surfaces of air ducts. These can accumulate in your home's ductwork over time, leading to poor indoor air quality and potential health risks.
If your ducts need cleaning, you may see a constant layer of dust settling around your home, or vent covers filled with dust or debris. The air may also feel 'stiffer' than usual. If you recently renovated a room, it's usually a good idea to schedule a cleaning to remove particles from the HVAC system.
How Allergens Enter Your Air Ducts?
Whenever you turn on your air conditioner or heater, allergens can begin circulating. They can travel throughout the air ducts and, thus, get into the air. Having open windows or tracking in allergens with your shoes can also cause them to circulate in your air ducts.
Common Allergens Circulating in Your Home
Allergens can pose major health risks, and understanding how allergens affect you can help you take precautions for your family's comfort and health. Common allergens in air ducts include:
Dust mites are tiny organisms that typically live in upholstered furniture, beds, or any other fabric. They munch on dead skin cells and produce waste, which can activate and aggravate asthma symptoms and allergy symptoms.
You'll likely encounter mould in your bathroom, basement, or any place with moisture. However, it's not always obvious. Areas behind walls, under flooring and in and around air ducts can all accumulate moisture..
Most domestic pets shed dead skin flakes and hair. These can get caught in your air ducts and can cause allergic reactions.
Pollen can get into your home by tracking it in with your shoes or via an open window. Like most allergens, can become trapped in and around air ducts.
Just because you shut the door and closed all the windows doesn't mean the outside air can't still get inside. Cleaning your air ducts so that they aren't circulating smog throughout your house is a good idea.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
VOCs are gases emitted from solids or liquids, including paints, lacquers, cleaning supplies, pesticides, building materials, office equipment, and craft materials. These chemicals can have short and long-term adverse health effects. Indoor concentrations of VOCs are consistently higher than outdoors.
How Can Cleaning Air Ducts Help With Allergies?
There are several ways air duct cleaning can help with allergies. Here are a few:
If your indoor air doesn't smell, there's a very good chance it's free of allergens.
Improves Indoor Air Quality
When you clean your air ducts, your indoor air quality should immediately improve. Once the air quality improves, you may notice fewer allergic reactions.
A dirty HVAC system restricts air flow, causing allergens to linger in your home longer. A clean HVAC system can improve airflow and, thus, can help eliminate any potential allergens. And as a bonus, a clean and efficient HVAC system can also save you money on energy bills.
This is probably the biggest benefit of cleaning your air ducts. Not only does cleaning them help reduce dust from the air duct itself but also from the air and surfaces of your home.
How Often Should I Have My Air Ducts Cleaned?
At minimum, we recommend air duct cleaning every three to five years. This depends, however, on several different factors. There are numerous instances where you should have your air ducts cleaned every year or two. For example, living with several shedding pets, like cats and dogs, can increase the rate at which your ducts get dirty. Even living off a gravel road can contribute to dirty air ducts.
So while three to five years is the minimum recommendation, every year or two is probably a good idea just to ensure the cleanest house possible.