Understanding How Air Ducts Work and Their Importance

Updated on November 26th 2023
Ductwork lining ceiling of industrial space beside air vent and overhead lights

Many people don’t give the air ducts in their house a second thought. And that’s understandable, because air ducts are one of those reliable background elements that makes life more comfortable and convenient but are almost never seen or heard. We adjust the thermostat and warm or cool air comes out of the registers. What else is there to know? Quite a bit actually and some of it is pretty important. In this post, we're going to look at how air ducts work and the importance of regular air duct cleaning.

What Are Air Ducts?

Air ducts are galvanized steel chutes that are typically rectangular in shape and run through the floors, walls and ceilings of your house. They start at the furnace/air conditioning unit in the basement and fan out from there ending at the various registers located in different rooms. If you've ever heard of "duct tape", this is where it originated; as a heavy-duty tape designed to seal the seams between sections of ductwork. Of course, today it's used for just about everything due to its tremendous strength and adhesive ability. But back to the ducts.

The HVAC (Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning) system in a house uses the air ducts to pull air into the system. That air is then heated or cooled and distributed throughout the house again using the ducts as a conduit. So at any given time half the air ducts in your house are drawing air in and the other half are sending heated or cooled air out to the various rooms.

In a sense, they are like the arteries in your body. And like your arteries, they tend to get clogged. Not with fatty deposits like in the arteries, but with dust, dirt, pollen and other airborne contaminants. If these contaminants are not removed they can cause or aggravate allergies and other respiratory ailments. That’s where Steve’s Air Duct Cleaning in Arvada comes in.

The Importance of Air Duct Cleaning

If the air ducts in a home are not cleaned they can cause or exacerbate allergies, bronchitis and other types of respiratory distress. But that is not the only problem caused by dirty air ducts. When air ducts become clogged with airborne detritus the HVAC system is forced to work harder than it’s designed to. This not only puts undue stress on the system, but can cause it to use more energy than it should, thereby increasing both your energy bills and carbon footprint.

About The Air Filter

In most HVAC systems an air filter is inserted across the intake ductwork near the central heating and air conditioning unit. This is designed to remove airborne particles before the air enters the unit. In theory clean, particle-free air should then be heated and distributed throughout the house. But theory and reality are often different things.

First of all, most homeowners don't change their air filter as often as is recommended. As a result, it becomes choked with airborne debris and unable to filter anymore. This means the air circulating in the house is no longer being filtered. Second, no air filter is able to capture every airborne particle. Third, air ducts develop leaks over time that allow dirt and dust to make their way into the ductwork where it comes to rest. Every time the furnace is in operation some of this accumulated dust and debris is blown into your kitchen, living room and bedrooms. The only way to ensure you’re not breathing in allergens and various other airborne pollutants is to periodically have your air ducts cleaned.

How Often Should You Clean Your Air Ducts?

The answer to this question depends on the age of your house and where it is located. Professionals usually recommend that people have their air ducts cleaned every 3 to 5 years. But Colorado presents its own unique environmental challenges that change the equation.

Most people here live wedged between the eastern plain and the Rocky Mountains. While the contrast makes for some spectacular vistas it also means homes are being constantly bombarded by airborne contaminants. When the wind is blowing from the east huge clouds of dust blow in from the plains. When the wind direction changes it comes roaring down off the mountains bringing with it all kinds of dirt, pollen, tiny twigs, leaf fragments, mold spores and much more.

The environment here alone dictates that you should have your ducts cleaned every 2 to 3 years. If your house is more than 50 years old you should probably clean them every 1 to 2 years, tops. That’s because old ductwork is leaky ductwork which only means more dirt and debris finding its way into the ducts.

Call Our Arvada Air Duct Cleaning Team

For those who live in Arvada and vicinity, there's no need to search for "air duct cleaning near me”. Just give call Steve’s Air Duct Cleaning team at (720) 419-7792. Or if you prefer you can write to us at, stevesairductcleaning11@gmail.com. We’ve been part of the community for more than 40 years and are proud of our reputation for quality work at fair prices.

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Your air ducts are the lungs of your home and keeping them clean keeps you and your family healthier and your HVAC equipment working optimally.