preparing for duct cleaning

Duct Cleaning Vs. Routine HVAC Maintenance in Opelika, AL

September 1, 2022

Your Opelika, AL home’s HVAC system needs periodic attention to keep it running efficiently. Two of those tasks include routine HVAC maintenance and duct cleaning. Discover why they’re important, how they’re different, how often you should do them, and if you can do them yourself.

Why Is Maintaining Your HVAC System Important?

Your HVAC system depends on its ability to circulate air. It draws air in, heats or cools it and then pushes it back out into your home. Your system’s heating and cooling effectiveness drop whenever there’s a restriction that inhibits circulation.

Through the course of running, your HVAC system draws in air that contains a variety of airborne contaminants. Your air filter is the primary defense against these particles, capturing many of them before they enter your system. However, small particles will flow through the filter, and more will enter through leaks in the system.

These particles settle throughout your system, wreaking havoc on many areas. Common places they settle that restrict airflow include:

  • Circulating fan wheel
  • Evaporator coil
  • Heat Exchanger
  • Air ducts

The purpose of duct cleaning and some of the focus of HVAC maintenance is removing these contaminants. Though they seem similar, HVAC maintenance and duct cleaning are different services, requiring different skills and tools.

What Is Routine HVAC Maintenance?

HVAC maintenance is something you hear about from every HVAC company and see on billboards, TV ads, and online advertising. It is obviously something that HVAC professionals feel very strongly about encouraging people to do. But what’s behind all the hype surrounding routine HVAC maintenance?

Boiled down, this collection of maintenance tasks seeks to keep your HVAC system running efficiently. Part of the task is to clean out the contaminants collected in your HVAC system. This helps prevent airflow restrictions that reduce your system’s efficiency.

Additionally, your technician will clean the burners in your furnace in the fall. They’ll check the compressor and condensing coil of the AC in the spring. Finally, they’ll check the electrical connections and mounting hardware.

What Is Duct Cleaning?

Duct cleaning is completely different, not helping to maintain your HVAC system’s components. However, it will help keep your system working efficiently, which reduces the strain on the system.

Duct cleaning starts with an initial inspection of your ducts to ensure they’re sealed. Duct cleaning uses pressurized air, so any leaks risk spreading the dirt and prevent the appropriate pressure from building. Any leaks need proper sealing before the cleaning can proceed.

The cleaning technicians will use a combination of negative air pressure and special brushes to scrub out the collected dirt. The negative pressure pulls the loosened contaminants out and into a collection chamber.

Can You Perform HVAC Maintenance or Duct Cleaning Yourself?

It may not seem like HVAC maintenance or duct cleaning are terribly difficult to do. However, there are several reasons why you should leave maintenance to professional technicians.

First, maintenance is often stipulated as a term to maintain a valid air conditioning or furnace warranty. Specifically, that term requires that a qualified professional perform the maintenance to avoid any accidental damage.

You can easily damage your ducts by trying to shove your vacuum cleaner’s hose down your vents. Additionally, you can’t get all the dirt out without the specialized brushes designed to fit your ducts. Therefore, leave the duct cleaning to a team that’s properly equipped and trained.

How Often Do You Need Routine Maintenance and Duct Cleaning?

You should aim to have two HVAC maintenance visits each year. The first one is in the spring, which will focus on your air conditioner. The second visit is in the fall and focuses on ensuring your heater is ready for the cold season.

Fortunately, you shouldn’t need duct cleaning nearly as often as routine HVAC maintenance. Rather, you should plan to have your ducts cleaned every three to five years. You may also want to schedule a cleaning after any major projects that produce a lot of dirt or dust.

Prepare your HVAC system to keep your home comfortable throughout the year. Call to schedule your duct cleaning or HVAC maintenance appointment with the expert technicians at Indoor Solutions today.

Image provided by iStock

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