Key Signs Your A/C Ducts Need a Cleaning

Key Signs Your A/C Ducts Need a Cleaning Having dirty ducts can reduce air quality and airflow through your North San Diego home. But how can you accurately detect when your A/C ducts need a cleaning? Fortunately, there are some telltale signs that let you know when it’s time to take action.

Signs of Dirty A/C Ducts

  • Use your eyes and ears: When you turn on your air conditioning system, watch your vents closely. If your system coughs up dust, you can be sure even more debris is caught up in your HVAC system. The vents themselves can also be a guide. A buildup of dust particles, pet hair and other airborne filth on or around the floor, wall and ceiling vents is further proof of a need to clean. Listening to your A/C ducts while they’re in operation can tell a similar tale. Whistling, rattling or general noise can be an indication of blockage in your A/C ducts. If your ducts are clean, the only thing you should hear is the blowing and hum of the blower motor.
  • Check your filters: One obvious way to check the cleanliness of your ducts is to look closely at your air filters. A blocked filter could mean its time to clean your ducts. If you clean or replace your filters and another buildup happens in a short period of time, it’s a sure bet your ducts need a thorough cleaning.
  • Adequate airflow: Regardless of the settings on your HVAC system, you should be able to feel some level of airflow around your vents. Check the vents on your home’s extremities. If airflow is low or non-existent, your ducts may be clogged. Floor vents are quite susceptible to small items and toys like Lego. Make sure you remove any garbage that builds up from foot traffic to keep air flowing.
  • Professional advice: When all else fails, seek the help of an HVAC professional. These pros have the tools that can access the interior of your ducts, and verify if a proper cleaning is needed.

For professional assistance with your A/C ducts, contact Sherlock Heating and Air Conditioning in San Diego today.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Diego and San Marcos, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Kichigin/Shutterstock”

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11 Comments

  • I’ve noticed that the AC in my home hasn’t been pushing out quite as much air as it used to. Yesterday when I turned it on, I noticed that the system coughed up dust. Sounds like it’s time for me to have my ducts cleaned! Thank you for the information.

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  • Knowing when to clean the air ducts can always be a bit of a tricky thing to figure out, so thanks for the great tips on what to keep an eye, and ear, out for. I definitely agree with what you said about listening; a rustling, whistling, or clanging sound is a sure fire sign that your ducts need to be cleaned or, at least, inspected. I also like what you said about being sure to regularly clean out floor vents in high foot traffic areas in order to keep them running smoothly.

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  • This is some great information, and I appreciate your point that low airflow coming from your vents could be due to buildup in your ducts. I’ve had my current HVAC system for a while, and I noticed that the air isn’t blowing as strongly as it used to. I’ve never had the ducts serviced before, and I think that might be the problem, so I’ll definitely look into having a professional come and clean those out. Thanks for the great post!

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  • You are completely right– when the filter in your HVAC unit needs you be replaced you will be able to see and hear it. However, you should be able to detect that there is something wrong with it earlier. Always check your power bills. If there is a sudden spike in cost, it could mean that you need to replace the filter in your unit.

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    • Thanks for reading!

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  • Thanks for bringing to my attention that a blocked air filter can indicate that you need duct cleaning. I changed my filter this morning, and not only was it dirty, it was completely choked with dust. Perhaps it would be a good idea to have professional come and clear the ducts out.

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    • I’m glad we could help, Caden!

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  • Thanks for sharing such relevant information about cleaning air ducts. There are a number of problems caused by dirty ducts, ranging from increased energy costs to health problems: 1. Dirt and dust restrict your HVAC system’s heating and cooling. In the winter, dirt-clogged heat exchangers cannot warm the air as efficiently.

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    • You are welcome! Glad the article was helpful!

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  • That’s a good tip you gave about making sure to check the filters to see if they’re blocked and ready for a cleaning. I’ve heard that a typical AC system should be cleaned or maintained at least once per year in order to keep operating at its complete efficiency. I’ll have to keep this great information in mind as I check to see if my ducts are ready for a cleaning.

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    • You should change your filters more often especially if you have pets! Every three months is ideal!

      Reply

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