How to Prevent Contamination Of Your Homes Air Ducts

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Services for Real Estate Pros with Ductz Indoor Air Professionals

How to Prevent Duct ContaminationWhether or not you decide to have the air ducts in your home cleaned, committing to a good preventive maintenance program is essential to minimize duct contamination.

To prevent dirt from entering the system:

bullet Use the highest efficiency air filter recommended by the manufacturer of your heating and cooling system.
 
bullet Change filters regularly.
 
bullet If your filters become clogged, change them more frequently.
 
bullet Be sure you do not have any missing filters and that air cannot bypass filters through gaps around the filter holder.
 
bullet When having your heating and cooling system maintained or checked for other reasons, be sure to ask the service provider to clean cooling coils and drain pans.
 
bullet During construction or renovation work that produces dust in your home, seal off supply and return registers and do not operate the heating and cooling system until after cleaning up the dust.
 
bullet Remove dust and vacuum your home regularly. (Use a high efficiency vacuum (HEPA) cleaner or the highest efficiency filter bags your vacuum cleaner can take. Vacuuming can increase the amount of dust in the air during and after vacuuming as well as in your ducts).
 
bullet If your heating system includes in-duct humidification equipment, be sure to operate and maintain the humidifier strictly as recommended by the manufacturer.

 Moisture should not be present in ducts. Controlling moisture is the most effective way to prevent biological growth in air ducts.

Moisture can enter the duct system through leaks or if the system has been improperly installed or serviced. Research suggests that condensation (which occurs when a surface temperature is lower than the dew point temperature of the surrounding air) on or near cooling coils of air conditioning units is a major factor in moisture contamination of the system.

The presence of condensation or high relative humidity is an important indicator of the potential for mold growth on any type of duct. Controlling moisture can often be difficult, but here are some steps you can take:

bullet Promptly and properly repair any leaks or water damage.
 
bullet Pay particular attention to cooling coils, which are designed to remove water from the air and can be a major source of moisture contamination of the system that can lead to mold growth. Make sure the condensate pan drains properly. The presence of substantial standing water and/or debris indicates a problem requiring immediate attention. Check any insulation near cooling coils for wet spots.
 
bullet Make sure ducts are properly sealed and insulated in all non-air-conditioned spaces (e.g., attics and crawl spaces). This will help to prevent moisture due to condensation from entering the system and is important to make the system work as intended. To prevent water condensation, the heating and cooling system must be properly insulated.
 
bullet If you are replacing your air conditioning system, make sure that the unit is the proper size for your needs and that all ducts are sealed at the joints.  A unit that is too big will cycle on and off frequently, resulting in poor moisture removal, particularly in areas with high humidity.  Also make sure that your new system is designed to manage condensation effectively.
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