You probably already know some of the benefits of keeping your air ducts cleaned. There's better indoor air quality, a system that isn't working as hard, and less dust getting blown around your house and landing on everything in sight. Many homeowners are sold on the concept, but not so much the price. The average cost of air duct cleaning can make some people pause: it usually comes in somewhere between $400 and $1000.
Why so expensive? It's a pretty big job. Many people don't realize that a thorough air duct cleaning can take up to half a day, involve several workers, and many pieces of specialized equipment. If you're feeling a bit intimidated by the price, you may be relieved to hear that keeping your air ducts cleaned can help reduce your energy costs.
Not only does that lessen the financial impact, but also your environmental impact as well. Here are three ways that having your air ducts cleaned can save you money on energy bills...
Clean Systems Run More Efficiently
As we go through our daily lives, we kick up a lot of dust and debris into the air. Every time we cook, every time we light the fireplace, every spritz of perfume or hairspray, and even every cough can add microscopic particles to the air, which will eventually find their way into your HVAC system and air ducts.
For the most part, your filter does a pretty good job of keeping those things out, but just like you need to replace your filters regularly, periodic cleanings are necessary too.
Cleanings are recommended once every 3 to 5 years. This is usually enough time for the dust build up in your air ducts to begin to compromise the efficiency of your system. When dust piles up, it actually narrows air passages, meaning your HVAC system needs to work harder, switch on more frequently, and ultimately burn more energy than is necessary. Air flows easier through clean filters and clear air ducts.
Clean Systems Reduce the Need for Extra Air Purifiers
If there are people in your home who have respiratory sensitivities, you may be using air purifying devices to help them breathe a bit easier. People who suffer from asthma and allergies often make use of air purifiers, and they are also a popular addition to nurseries, or the bedrooms of elderly family members.
Air purifiers work by attracting particulate matter in the air, and holding onto it, letting only clean air pass through. These are good devices, and can indeed be very helpful for sensitive individuals, but they can also use up a lot of energy.
A properly maintained and cleaned HVAC system does a great job of circulating filtered and purified air all on its own. If the air coming out of your vents is clean and pure, there will no longer be a need to run these extra appliances, saving you money on your electric bill.
A Professional Cleaning Can Spot Leaks and Other Issues
Spotting a leak or crack in your air ducts can be very difficult. Ductwork is designed to be out of sight and out of mind. It's in your walls, under your floors, above your ceiling, etc. Very few people are able to go through their ductwork looking for small imperfections that may be leading to air leaks.
Of course, leaky air ducts mean that you are blowing air out of your system, and therefore wasting energy. Your HVAC needs to work harder to bring the temperature up or down to match the setting on your thermostat, meanwhile the heated or cooled air that was intended for your home is getting blown out into the attic, or somewhere else it's not needed.
When professionals come through to clean your air ducts, they also do a thorough inspection. If they find any leaks or weaknesses, they can address them before they start costing you too much money. Needless to say, leaks can go undiscovered for years. Think of all the money that could be lost and energy that could be wasted if you were not made aware of a flaw in your HVAC system.
It's true that air duct cleaning can be a bit pricier than people expect, but when it helps to reduce your overall energy costs, the price can begin to balance out. A properly maintained and cleaned HVAC system is also much more Earth-friendly, as it is drawing a lower amount of power. If you are not sure whether or not it is time to have your air ducts cleaned, ask friends and family for recommendations of reputable companies, and have someone out to do a quick inspection. You may find out that you have a little more time before you are due, or it may be in your best interest to schedule a cleaning right away.