As the final post in our series on air duct cleaning, the folks here at GAMA Air want to help you with some suggestions on preventing air duct contamination. As we know, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. And preventing water and dirt from entering your central heating and cooling system is the most effective way to prevent contamination and avoid any need for air duct cleaning. You definitely don't want your ducts getting to the point where they look like the one in this picture.
Preventing Air Duct Contamination
Establishing a good preventive maintenance program is essential to minimize air duct contamination and may help you avoid the need to decide whether or not to have the air ducts in your home cleaned.
First of all, to prevent dirt from entering the system you should:
- Use the highest efficiency air filter recommended by the manufacturer of your heating and cooling system.
- Change the filters regularly.
- If your filters become clogged in between changes, then change them more frequently.
- Be sure all air vents have filters and that air cannot bypass the filters through gaps around the filter holder.
- When having your heating and cooling system maintained or checked for other reasons, be sure to ask the service provider to clean cooling coils and drain pans.
- During construction or renovation work that produces dust in your home, seal off the supply and return registers and do not operate the heating and cooling system until after cleaning up the dust.
- Dust and vacuum your home regularly. Use a high efficiency (HEPA) vacuum cleaner or the highest efficiency filter bags your vacuum cleaner can take.
- If your heating system includes in-duct humidification equipment, be sure to operate and maintain the humidifier strictly as recommended by the manufacturer.
The presence of condensation or high relative humidity is an important indicator of the potential for mold growth on any type of duct. Moisture can enter the duct system through leaks or if the system has been improperly installed or serviced. Controlling moisture is the most effective way to prevent biological growth in air ducts.
To protect the air ducts from moisture, you should:
- Promptly and properly repair any leaks or water damage in the system.
- Pay special attention to cooling coils, which are designed to remove water from the air and can be a major source of moisture contamination of the system that can lead to mold growth. Check any insulation near cooling coils for wet spots.
- Make sure the condensate pan drains properly. The presence of substantial standing water and/or debris indicates a problem requiring immediate attention.
- Make sure ducts are properly sealed and insulated in all non-air-conditioned spaces (like attics and crawl spaces). This will help to prevent condensation moisture from entering the system. To prevent additional condensation, the heating and cooling system must be properly insulated.
- If you are replacing your air conditioning system, make sure that the unit is the proper size for your needs and that all ducts are sealed at the joints. A unit that is too big will cycle on and off frequently, resulting in poor moisture removal, particularly in areas with high humidity. Also, make sure that your new system is designed to manage condensation effectively.
We hope you have found this series on air duct maintenance and cleaning helpful. If you have additional questions or concerns about air duct contamination, please give us a call at (310) 651-6936 or use our online form to schedule a check-up on your system.
Do you have other questions that you’re eager to get a response on? You’re at the right place! Fill out the form on our “Ask an Expert” page, and the resident expert at GAMA Air will get back to you quickly with an answer.