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Signs Your Air Ducts Need Cleaning

May 22, 2023

Do you suffer from allergies? Have pets in the house? Are you noticing a musty smell? If so, it’s probably time to clean the air ducts. These are some signs your air ducts need to be cleaned.

Even if you routinely replace filters, your HVAC system gets dirty with everyday use. Dust, dirt and allergens collect and linger, causing your system to work even harder. The elements also contain contaminants which harm your indoor air quality. Here are some key signs it’s time for a good cleaning.

Mold is Everywhere

Mold can kick-up bad allergies and cause respiratory problems.  Plus, it can spread quickly throughout your home. Mold results from condensation that builds up in your heating and cooling system. It’s hard to see but has a noticeable musty odor. Get rid of mold as soon as possible. Take precautions against excess moisture in your home, or mold will regrow.

Dust in the Ducts

If you notice dusty air ducts, dust on the vents, or dust blowing out of the vents, it’s time to take action.  If the flat areas in your home get dusty soon after you clean them, you probably need to have the air ducts cleaned. You can prevent future dust buildup by frequently replacing filters and running an air purifier.

Rodents and Insects

Once these critters hit your air duct highway, they leave behind all sorts of bacteria. Tiny fecal spores can make their way into your home and contaminate the air you breathe. Rodents will leave behind droppings, chewed up materials, and cause unpleasant smells. You may also be able to hear them running around. These are all telltale signs you have an infestation.

Bangs, Pops and Rattles

If you hear any of these strange noises in your normally quiet HVAC system, it’s time for a checkup. A blockage may be to blame.

Construction Work Remnants

If your house was just built or recently renovated, chances are dirt and dust, and possibly construction debris, are in the ductwork. The ducts may contain nasty particulate matter you don’t want to breathe.

A High Energy Bill

If your electric bill is spiking, you may have a problem. Ductwork can become so filthy that air isn’t able to flow efficiently through the HVAC system. It must work harder to properly heat or cool your home, resulting in higher bills.

DIY Air Duct Cleaning

There’s no doubt you will save money if you clean the air ducts yourself. This is best done between annual cleanings by a professional.

Gather Your Supplies

To clean your air ducts, gather a dryer vent brush, warm soapy water, cleaning cloths and a vacuum with a dust brush attachment. Also, get a screwdriver and step-stool.

Remove and Clean Vent Covers 

Collect floor registers. Use a step-stool and screwdriver to remove wall vent covers. Vacuum the covers if they’re extremely dusty. Wash them with soap and water.

Clean Inside the Ducts

Insert a vent brush into the duct and run it along the walls to collect dirt and dust. Clean up debris with a vacuum cleaner hose.

The Final Touches

Wipe the interior of the vent with a damp microfiber cloth. Put the vent covers back on. Run your system for 30 minutes to filter loosened up dust. Put a fresh filter in afterwards. Now, your HVAC system is good to go!

Leave the Air Duct Cleaning to Us

Will Air is a high-quality, residential and light commercial, heating and cooling company in Central Maryland. We specialize in HVAC systems, duct cleaning, and preventive planned maintenance.

Call us today at 410-549-9300 or visit us online to request a free estimate.


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  • Carroll County, MD
  • Howard County, MD
  • Frederick, MD
  • Baltimore County, MD
  • Montgomery County, MD
5389 Enterprise Street, Suite F, Sykesville, MD 21784


Licensed & Insured: MD HVAC 3303 | WSSC FG7 | MD Gas Fitter License Number 92788

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