How to Know When to Replace Ductwork or Just Have It Cleaned

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clean or replace ductworkHave you taken a look at your home’s ductwork lately? If you’re having problems with this easily neglected aspect of the HVAC system, chances are it may be time for a cleaning or, in some severe cases, it may need to be replaced. Knowing when it’s time to clean or replace ductwork is crucial for maintaining healthy indoor air and excellent HVAC comfort.

The Perils of Poor Duct Maintenance

Think of the ducts as your home’s respiratory system. The HVAC system takes in indoor air and recirculates it throughout your home as conditioned air. It’s not unusual for ducts to gather a thin coating of dust. However, large amounts of dust and other airborne debris should be removed and the source of the dust found and fixed.

Mold spores can also travel through the HVAC ducts. If these spores encounter pockets of moisture within the ducts, these spores can blossom into full-grown mold and mildew, making it much harder to clean the ductwork.

To Clean or Replace?

Knowing when to replace ductwork or when it should be cleaned depends on the type of duct, the material it’s made from and whether or not there’s severe mold growth within:

  • Metal ducts – The easiest of the three to clean, especially without an interior lining. Mold can also be cleaned relatively easy.
  • Fiber board ducts – Not as easy to clean as metal ducts, as the stiff brushes commonly used can damage the underlying fiberglass. Entire sections must also be replaced at the sign of mold growth.
  • Flex ducts – Special tools are usually required to clean flex ducts, as the interior lining can easily tear. These ducts must also be replaced if there’s any mold growth detected.

For help determining if you need to replace ductwork, or for other home comfort concerns, contact the pros at Rodenhiser Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning. We’re proud to serve homeowners throughout the Route 495/128 area of Massachusetts.

Image via Shutterstock.com

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