Your air ducts are responsible for delivering clean air throughout the home. Most heating and air systems today are equipped with filters that will ensure the air that comes out of them are clean. However, there are some particles that still make their way through. Therefore, it is important to keep your eye out for warning signs that duct cleaning is needed.
Take off the grille from at least one of your air vents. With a flashlight, look for any visible signs of mold inside of the ducting. If there is enough mold growing inside of the ductwork, you may even be able to smell the mold. Due to the fact that the presence of mold also means that there is the presence of moisture, you should inspect the ducting for signs of leaks. Moisture could result in insulation damage, so you should have this taken care of at the same time as the mold and possible leak.
Similar to taps on plumbing, dampers are responsible for controlling how much cool or warm air flows into a certain room. Dampers are equipped with moving components, and because of this, a significant amount of built-up dust can cause these parts to not move the way that they are designed to. In fact, if there is enough accumulated dust and debris, the damper may not even respond to your thermostat.
As you inspect your ductwork, look for any visible signs of vermin camping out in, making a home in, or traveling throughout the ducting. Vermin should be removed from the ductwork by a professional. Your ducting is there to only push air through, not to provide a home to homeless rats and other rodents. In the event that pests have been inside of your ducting, there is a good chance that there are broken seams, holes, and other damage, especially at the areas where they have been entering the ducting.
When the ductwork is cleaned, it can improve the efficiency of your heating and air system while also minimizing the risk of reduced output and clogs. If you have a wood-fired, gas, or oil furnace, this can be particularly important since some of the particles from the fuel could escape into the ducting.
If you have not had your ductwork cleaned recently, you may want to consider reaching out to an HVAC service that offers duct cleaning to schedule an appointment.