Your HVAC system has been working hard all year. The more your system runs, the more dirt and dust can build up inside your ductwork. But before you go spending money on professional air heating and cooling, learn how to inspect your air ducts and determine if it’s necessary or not.

Cleaning your duct system has many benefits and it’s recommended that you complete this home maintenance task every 5-10 years. Clean ductwork means  better indoor air quality (great for people with respiratory problems) and a more efficient HVAC system (up to 40% more efficient).

A professional heating and cooling will remove all the dust and debris in your ductwork, including small objects and toys, pet hair, mold, and other sources of indoor air pollution.

Learn how to inspect your air ducts with these simple steps:

Materials: flashlight, flash camera, and a screwdriver

1.  When you HVAC system is running, take a look at your air vents and registers. If you see dust and other debris flowing out, you probably have dirty ductwork and a possible clog further down the duct system.

2.  For a more thorough inspection, get out your screwdriver and flash camera and head over to one of your vent registers (located on the floor or along the lower parts of your walls). After unscrewing the vent grill, take a look inside.

3.  Use your flash camera to get a better look by sticking your arm in and snapping a couple pictures.

4.  Rodent droppings and signs of mold are common problems to look for. If you notice dead insects and rodent droppings, you may have an infestation problem, in which case, you should call in an exterminator ASAP.

5.  If you notice excessive buildup of dust and debris, mold, or signs of an infestation, call a professional immediately to diagnose the situation.

6.  If you do choose to have your ductwork professionally cleaned, you shouldn’t have to inspect your air ducts again for at least another 5 years. After a professional cleaning, take the time and effort to seal your air ducts. This is especially important considering that about 20-30% of our conditioned air escapes through leaks in our ductworkLearn how to DIY seal your air ducts to improve your HVAC efficiency and reduce the amount of dirt and dust that gets distributed throughout your home.

7.  If your air ducts are dirty, but not dirty enough to warrant a professional heating and cooling, you can make some improvements yourself. Watch this video to learn how to clean your air vents and registers:

By cleaning and sealing your air ducts, not only will you improve the quality of your indoor air, but also the overall efficiency of your HVAC system. This will result in lower costs, higher comfort, and less sickness. If you don’t know the cause of your respiratory ailments, cleaning your air ducts just might be the solution you’re looking for.