Monday, January 5, 2009

Dusty Ducts

We recently had our carpets cleaned in our home; after all the Christmas parties and the disasters that came with people trampling through; and I learned something new. If you have carpet in your home, and you see a darker line around the baseboards of your rooms, those lines are caused from your heating and air conditioning. They are often the darkest by the furnace itself, but can be seen in rooms or areas were there is a vent near by. Those lines are settled particles from the air that are kicked around by your furnace. We are breathing that stuff everyday! I was pretty shocked to learn this. We rent our home, and the damage (darkened lines) was done before we moved in. I was pleased to find out that since I am kinda a “clean freak,” I have lessened the particles in the air and in turn continuing damage on the carpet.

But I wanted to find out more ways to help get all that junk out of the air that we are breathing. One way I learned, was to have all the air vents and duct work professionally cleaned and sucked out. This would not only help take the junk out of the air, but it would also make our heating and air conditioning more efficient! A win win. Having your duct work cleaned out is also great for people with allergies and asthma.

This being said, still be careful of the many scams and "extras" that companies will try to sell you in the process. Your coils should be cleaned annually, and although professionals will tell you you need to have your duct work cleaned annually, its just not necessary unless you are particularly sensitive. Chucks of dust and particles just don't build up that fast to warrant the yearly spending of $200-400 (depending on the house) duct cleaning.

American Fresh Ducts If left unclean for a long period of time, your ventilation system could be the largest cause of your house dust and allergy problems, not to mention the leading cause of HVAC system failure. A buildup of less than a 16th of an inch, 0.042 inches of dirt on a heating or cooling coil can result in a decrease of efficiency of 21% the Environmental Protection Agency (EPS) reports. 9 out of 10 system failures are caused by dirt and dust as reported by the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Services (LCES).

A clean system restores capacity and lessens running time – translation: clean systems run more efficiently saving money on heating and cooling costs. A well-maintained cooling system can reduce your utility bill by as much as $30.00 per month. Studies show that a well-maintained system can restore capacity by ½ to ¾ tons, improve humidity control and reduce running time according to the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) of San Francisco Bay Area. By simply cleaning and maintaining your HVAC system on a yearly basis (your dryer vent, too) can significantly reduce house dust and microbial contamination. For particularly sensitive individuals and those living in very high humidity environments, the system should be cleaned every six months.

A clean HVAC system can actually be used to help decrease allergy and asthma symptoms. Air-conditioning can be used to keep the humidity in your home to 50% or less to significantly slow the growth of dust mites, molds and mildew. Electrostatic, UV air cleanser or HEPA filters used and maintained (cleaned or replaced often) in your HVAC system also helps lower allergy and asthma symptoms as well as better maintaining an overall healthy system. Commercially purchased fiberglass filters are only 7% efficient in stopping dirt, dust, pollen, etc. passing through them says the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Experts (ASHRAE).

1 comment:

Elisha said...

Katrina, i really like this blog; I think it is excellent! Something a little scarey is I have seen those dark dirty looking lines around the base boards before and never had any clue what is was or what it meant. I just figuered it was dirt; kinda scarey! I learned something new.