Cleaning the various components that feed your indoor air should be a routine part of your home maintenance. You wouldn’t go too long without vacuuming your carpet or laundering your bedding, right? That would negatively impact the cleanliness and healthfulness of your indoor environment (and let’s face it, it would be gross).
The same holds true for the cleaning of your home’s heating, ventilation, and duct systems, which contribute—albeit in a less visible manner—to the overall healthfulness and cleanliness of your home environment. And in the case of your chimney and dryer vents, routine cleaning is important not only in terms of indoor air quality and overall system efficiency but more importantly to protect your family and home from two common causes of house fires.
Some of the benefits of HVAC cleaning (a category which we will widen to include chimney sweeping and dryer vent cleaning) are as follows.
Increased air flow
Removing debris from your furnace, ducts, chimney, and dryer vent increases air flow throughout these systems, as its movement is unhindered by dirt and obstructions. When air flow is increased, the appliances and their associated systems work more efficiently, lowering energy bills. Increased air flow also helps to extend the life of your appliances, by reducing how hard they have to work to achieve the same result. A clean and unobstructed dryer vent that moves heated air efficiently dries clothes faster and with less effort. In a clean furnace, the minimization of dust and debris will prevent clogging of the unit and allow the blower to effectively move air through the ducts and into your living space. A clean chimney will improve draft and prevent smoke from blowing back into your home.
The removal of dirt and debris from your furnace and air ducts, as well as soot and creosote from your chimney, will decrease the presence of contaminants and irritants in your indoor air. Debris trapped in these systems can also contribute to household odors. Creosote buildup in the chimney can cause a musty smell, and air ducts can harbor any number of foul-smelling inhabitants. Our technicians have found all manner of debris inside, including dead animals, bugs, animal feces, old food--anything that can fit down a household vent can become trapped in the air ducts. Elimination of this debris would be the first step in ameliorating the associated odors. Additionally, allergy and asthma symptoms are naturally eased by the decrease in allergens and irritants that results from HVAC cleaning.
Decreased risk of house fire
When the buildup of flammable debris is such that air flow is impeded because of a partial or complete obstruction, such as a dryer vent clogged with lint, a chimney hindered by creosote buildup, or a furnace flue blocked by an animal's nest, the risk is much greater than simply overworked appliances or compromised indoor air. Clogged dryer vents in particular are notorious for causing house fires. Overall, clean vents, chimneys, and flues create improved draft and air flow, providing free passage of smoke and fumes from your home and allowing your appliances to do what they were intended to do without harm to you or your family.
When all is said and done, the cost of HVAC cleaning is relatively inconsequential compared to the often significant risk of allowing buildup to continue unchecked.
For further reading, download some of our free tipsheets:
5 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Dryer Vent Cleaning Company
5 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Chimney Cleaning Company
10 Questions to Ask Before Hiring an Air Duct Cleaning Company