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The Bowels of Your HVAC

There’s no doubt that the quality of indoor air in your home is critical to your health and that of your family. Allergies, asthma and other ailments are triggered by airborne pollutants that are most often the consequence of pollen, dust, bacteria, mold and other small and volatile particles. This simple fact is the reason why you keep your house pristine clean.

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Ensuring that your indoor environment is dust-free is not, in and by itself, enough. You may be ignoring an important source of pollutants: your HVAC. While designed to filter out those particles, your HVAC is also — somewhat ironically — a source of airborne pollutants. Over time, particles accumulate inside the bowels of the system: filters, air ducts, and vents. These hidden nests of potentially harmful particles are then released back into your environment, even though you cannot identify them or even clean them quickly.

A side effect of particle accumulation inside your HVAC is a significant reduction in its efficiency. In fact, the U.S. Department of Energy concluded that between 25 and 40 percent of the energy used for heating or cooling a home is wasted, in no small part because of the state of the system itself. If you suspect that your HVAC may be the cause of problems with your indoor air quality, you should have it checked by professionals. An external air filter can help in minimizing the impact of such indoor air pollution, but in the long run, they are relatively costly and are not 100% efficient. Also, they will not prevent the accumulation of pollutants inside the HVAC itself, which can only grow.

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You can start by cleaning the vent plates in your home, as this is easy using a vacuum wand. However, cleaning the bowels of an HVAC is not something you would typically want to tackle yourself: your regular vacuum just won’t do the trick. Doing so requires specialized equipment, tools, and expertise to identify the areas which are affected and get the system back to peak performance. Having your HVAC checked and cleaned by a specialist is well worth the investment, especially if your home is host to allergy sufferers or individuals who are more susceptible to air pollutants, such as the elderly and young children. It may save you not only money, but it will also improve the quality of life for all your loved ones.

You can find HVAC specialists in your area by looking up a local directory. If you need to locate a certified specialist, the NADCA (www.nadca.com) — a global trade association representing the HVAC inspection, cleaning, and restoration industry — maintains its directory and can help.


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