Preventing Dust and Debris from Entering Your Vents During Cleaning: An Expert's Guide

Learn how an expert prevents dust & debris from entering vents during cleaning with this comprehensive guide from an expert! Read now!

Preventing Dust and Debris from Entering Your Vents During Cleaning: An Expert's Guide

Limiting the amount of dust and dander in your home is essential to reduce the amount that enters the ventilation grilles. Regularly cleaning and vacuuming the space can help reduce the amount of dirt and dust that builds up on the vents, according to Sokolowski. Placing mats in all entrances will also help reduce the amount of dirt and debris in your home. Dust and debris are likely to rise into the air and enter the heating and cooling system.

To protect your air conditioning system, cover all ventilation grilles in the construction area. This will keep the air filter clean and reduce the amount of dust in the unit. Remember that when you turn on the air conditioning system, there are closed vents that can restrict air flow. The official website of the United States Government provides more information about this.

Knowledge about cleaning air ducts is still in its early stages, so no general recommendation can be offered as to whether you should clean your home's air ducts. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) urges you to read their document in its entirety, as it provides important information on the subject. Duct cleaning has never been proven to actually prevent health problems, nor do studies conclusively prove that particles (e.g., dust) are released from ducts into the living space. It's important to note that dirty air ducts are just one of many possible sources of particulate matter that are present in homes.

Pollutants that enter the home from both outdoor and indoor activities, such as cooking, cleaning, smoking, or just moving, can cause greater exposure to pollutants than dirty air ducts. In addition, there is no evidence that a small amount of household dust or other particles in air ducts poses any health risk. If any of these conditions exist, it usually suggests one or more underlying causes. Before cleaning, reconditioning, or replacing the ducts, the cause or causes must be corrected, or else the problem is likely to reappear.

Some research suggests that cleaning the components of the heating and cooling system (e.g., cooling coils, fans, and heat exchangers) may improve system efficiency. You may want to consider cleaning your air ducts simply because it seems logical that they will get dirty over time and should be cleaned from time to time. As long as cleaning is done properly, there is no evidence to suggest that such cleaning is harmful. The EPA does not recommend that air ducts be cleaned routinely, but only when necessary.

However, they recommend that if you have a furnace, stove, or fireplace that burns fuel, they be inspected for proper functioning and maintained before each heating season to protect against carbon monoxide poisoning. If you decide to have your air ducts cleaned, take the same consumer precautions you would normally take when evaluating the competence and reliability of the service provider. Whether you decide to clean your home's air ducts or not, preventing water and dirt from entering the system is the most effective way to avoid contamination (see How to Prevent Duct Contamination). If you decide to clean your heating and cooling system, it's important to make sure that the service provider agrees to clean all components of the system and is qualified to do so.

In addition, they may propose applying chemical biocides designed to remove microbiological contaminants inside ducts and other components of the system. Some service providers may also suggest applying chemical treatments (sealants or other encapsulants) to encapsulate or cover inner surfaces of air ducts and equipment housings because they believe they will control mold growth or prevent release of dirt particles or fibers from ducts. These practices have not yet been thoroughly investigated and you should be fully informed before deciding to allow use of biocides or chemical treatments in your air ducts. They should only be applied if at all after system has been properly cleaned of all visible dust or debris.

Knowledge about potential benefits and potential problems of air duct cleaning is limited. Since conditions in every home are different, it's impossible to generalize about whether cleaning your home's air ducts would be beneficial or not. On other hand, if family members have unusual or unexplained symptoms or illnesses that you think might be related to your home environment, you should discuss situation with your doctor. The EPA has published several publications for guidance on how to identify potential indoor air quality problems and ways to prevent or fix them.

You might consider cleaning your air ducts simply because it seems logical that they will get dirty over time and should be cleaned from time to time. While debate over value of regular duct cleaning continues, there is no evidence to suggest that such cleaning is harmful provided it is done properly. On other hand, if service provider fails to follow proper duct cleaning procedures, duct cleaning can cause indoor air problems. For example, an inadequate vacuum collection system can release more dust, dirt, and other contaminants than if ducts had been left alone.

A careless or inadequately trained service provider can damage your ducts or your heating and cooling system which could increase your heating and air conditioning costs or force you to make difficult and expensive repairs or replacements.

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