Apartment Duct Cleaning – How to Tell if it’s Time

Mature Man taking out a dirty air filter from a house

Your home is your sanctuary. While that may sound a bit cliché, it is true. Whether you work outside the home, telecommute, or are a stay-at-home parent, you want your apartment to be a comfortable refuge from the hustle-bustle of life. You also need it to be comfortable and safe. Yet filthy HVAC ducts can compromise both. If you’re experiencing common issues such as higher energy bills and worsening allergic reactions, your air ducts may be to blame.

Thankfully, apartment duct cleaning is an easy solution to these woes. But before you hire a professional to take care of this important task for you, there are a few things you need to know. This short guide explains the ins and outs of air duct cleaning: when to get it done, problem signs to watch out for, and more.

Signs It’s Time To Clean Your Apartment Air Ducts

Many factors impact the quality of the air you breathe inside your apartment. You may not have all the responsibilities of the average homeowner, but proper cleaning and maintenance are essential for any home — regardless of whether you own or rent. As you live out your daily lives, lots of not-so-nice stuff may be collected inside your HVAC ducts. And they can cause some serious problems.

Visible Dust

If you see dust and dirt exiting your vents when your HVAC is running, that’s not a good sign. The dust you can see is just the tip of the iceberg — there’s a lot more inside your ducts that you can’t see. You may also notice dust settling on furniture and other surfaces, even if you’re vigilant with your house cleaning regimen. Even with all your efforts, you’re still doing double the work if your ducts are dirty. They’ll just keep blowing more dust into your home.

Mold and Mildew

Visible mold on your air ducts and registers is a sign of major problems. Mold in these areas can be blown throughout your home and deposited everywhere, allowing it to grow in new locations. You also risk breathing in that mold, which can trigger several types of health issues.

Rising Energy Bills

HVAC efficiency directly impacts your energy bills. Dust and dirt inside your ducts make your system work harder to produce the same heating and cooling benefits you’re used to. Motors and blower fans can become clogged with dirt, which reduces potential airflow. No amount of filter changing or thermostat adjustments can make up for this common problem. The only solution is apartment duct cleaning.

Increased Allergy Symptoms

Mold, dust, and dirt are all bad news for allergy sufferers. If your ducts are dirty or clogged, you may notice your symptoms worsen even if allergy season is over. Pay attention to problems such as itchy eyes, sneezing, sore throat, and wheezing.

Unpleasant Duct Odors

Even if you can’t see a dust problem inside your ducts, you may still be able to smell it. You may detect lingering dust smells, but moldy or musty odors can also signal problems. Some apartment dwellers can detect stale or “wet” smells coming from their vents. If this is the case, try to sniff near those vents to determine if they’re the source of these odors.

Of course, there may be lots of other unpleasant things hanging out inside your HVAC ducts. Other common offenders include hairballs, fabric lint, pet dander, dead skin flakes, dust mites, bacteria, and pollen. Regular apartment duct cleaning removes all this nasty stuff, leaving you with cleaner air to breathe.

Potential Benefits of Air Duct Cleaning

Getting rid of dust, dirt, mold, and other hazards is the most obvious advantage of air duct cleaning. But that itself results in other key benefits. Your HVAC’s performance improves, resulting in better ventilation, greater reliability, and lower energy bills. You’ll also experience fewer breakdowns, leading to lower repair bills. You should also notice a decrease in allergy symptoms and other respiratory issues. And with less dust in your vents and ducts, it’s much easier to keep your home clean.

A few additional steps can cut down on the dust inside your HVAC system. Choosing efficient air filters is helpful, allowing you to screen out more dust and particles. Also, Hawaii’s humid climate makes mold easier to thrive. The combination of wetter air and warm temperatures can promote its growth. Indoor humidity levels should be monitored to keep potential growth in check. The EPA suggests keeping relative indoor humidity under 60%, with 30% to 50% the ideal range. These practices, paired with air duct cleaning, can make the air in your apartment more pleasant to breathe. 

How Often Should You Clean Your Apartment Air Ducts?

Fortunately, you can easily keep your apartment air ducts clean with a few simple practices. NADCA recommends an annual inspection for the air handler units and once every two years for the supply and return ducts. It’s also wise to get a professional apartment duct cleaning after moving into a new unit. If you’ve completed a remodeling project, an apartment air duct cleaning removes any post-construction dust.

Remember that the three- to five-year cleaning interval is a general guideline from the National Air Duct Cleaners Association. The NADCA’s recommendation should work well for most residential environments. You may need a different schedule for professional cleaning if you have pets that shed, if you smoke, or if someone in your home has severe allergies.

Trust the Professionals at Hawaii Indoor Air Specialists

Thanks for reading our guide to apartment duct cleaning! At Hawaii Indoor Air Specialists, we strongly believe that people need accurate, sound information to make informed choices. We hope that you found this guide helpful and informative so you can take the best care of your indoor air. Hawaii Indoor Air Specialists has helped clients enjoy cleaner and safer living environments since 1999. Certified by the National Air Duct Cleaners Association, we’re a family-owned and -operated small business offering HVAC air duct cleaning, along with dryer vent cleaning, to residential and commercial customers across the islands. Our individual technicians are also certified, ensuring that every service we deliver meets high quality and safety standards. Get a quote by calling (808) 626-4774 or complete our online contact form.

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