The conduits or channels used to deliver heating, ventilation, and air conditioning throughout a building are commonly referred to as ducts. They are a critical component of a home’s HVAC system and must be well maintained to preserve the healthy circulation of clean air for its occupants. Yet there’s lots that can go wrong if ducts are improperly installed, neglected or damaged over time. And that’s when it’s time to call in a professional duct cleaning service such as Blue Ox Heating & Air of St. Paul, MN.
All About Ducts
The ducts that circulate warm and cool air in the home may be visible, or hidden within walls, depending on what type they are. In industrial style interiors, they may constitute an architectural feature, but in most built homes, they tend to be hidden within bulkheads and similar built structures.
There are two main styles of duct: flexible and rigid. Generally made from plastic, flexible ducts can be used in awkward spaces, although their flexibility also makes them more likely to be punctured. The type of plastic typically used is resistant to mold and rust, so truly clean air is more easily achieved. Flexible ducts are generally wrapped in insulation to maintain a constant air temperature within.
Rigid sheet metal ducts are usually made from galvanized steel or aluminium. They are moisture resistant and easier to install, so many contractors prefer to use them as much as possible. Their weakness is at the joints where lengths of duct combine, which can be imperfectly sealed or shift over time.
Other types of rigid ducts are fiberglass lined, or made from fiberboard.
Regardless of what style is installed in your home and their respective properties, ducts should still be regularly inspected and cleaned to ensure efficient and clean air distribution.
What Can Go Wrong with Ducts
Over time, debris can build up within ducts, or if they were improperly installed, they may have dust and debris already in circulation.
If there is excessive moisture entering the system somehow, mold can grow. The system can also be contaminated by airborne microbes and bacteria. Both of these scenarios are potentially hazardous for the occupants who are breathing in the circulated air. While most healthy adults can tolerate a degree of dust or dirt in the air, anyone who is younger or older, or who has a compromised immune system or chronic health issues may be at heightened risk.
When any of this happens, or this pertains to your household, you need to call in an experienced duct cleaning service professional such as Blue Ox Heating & Air of St. Paul, MN.
Benefits of Regular Duct Cleaning Service
Regular duct maintenance and cleaning can be a boon if you’re the type of homeowner who dislikes surprises and loves smoothly functioning and safe household systems. Scheduled at your convenience on an annual basis, a duct cleaning service call can head off many of those potential surprises at the pass. Minor adjustments, the replacement of worn out materials, spotting small problems well ahead of them becoming big ones – there’s lots for a technician to do aside from just cleaning.
One of the biggest problems aside from dirt and contaminants within duct work is air leaks wherever ducts are joined, or from punctures. Be sure to ask about testing for such leaks and initiate whatever re-sealing is required.
And if you’re worried about airborne contaminants, or if someone in your household has health issues or allergies, you’ll want to ensure that your HVAC system is as clean as possible. The biggest benefit of regular duct cleaning is the peace of mind that comes from knowing that your loved ones are breathing the cleanest air possible. In these days of COVID-19, that is truly priceless.
What to Expect from a Duct Cleaning Service Call
A duct cleaning service technician will disassemble, examine and thoroughly clean all the component parts, including the supply and return air ducts and registers, the drip pans used to capture condensation, the heating and cooling coils, the fan motor and its housing, and the air handling unit. He’ll do spot repairs as needed, and then re-assemble and test the entire system, checking for leaks.
Some duct cleaning services promote the use of sealants or chemical biocides to discourage microbial growth within ducts. Use caution and be sure to ask whether these types of products are a standard part of the cleaning. The jury is still out on their efficacy and toxicity. For example, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has yet to approve chemical biocides for use in insulated air duct systems. Your best bet for clean air remains to make sure duct interiors stay free of dust, dirt and moisture.
In these days of pandemic, most reliable contractors, including duct cleaning service providers will have public health and safety protocols in place. They may ask that you steer clear as they work, or erect plastic barriers around the work area. Don’t hesitate to ask about safety when you book your duct cleaning service appointment. And be sure to follow social distancing, mask wearing and cleaning guidelines whenever a stranger comes into your home. With cleaning and air quality front and center at this time, duct cleaning takes on added significance. It’s not necessarily something you should put off as long as you are confident measures will be taken to keep you and your family safe.
If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of a professional duct cleaning service, give the friendly technicians at Blue Ox Heating & Air in St. Paul, MN a call. Whether it’s to schedule an emergency or maintenance call, or just to ask about their extensive menu of repair services, they are happy to help ensure continuing good air quality for your home. And be sure to ask about the industry-wide public health protocols around service calls.