What’s Creeping in Your Ducts?

October 13, 2019

The air ducts for your central heating system can become infested with all sorts of things, both living and inanimate, and these can hinder your unit’s performance, lower the indoor air quality and impact your health. Below are just a few of the more common creatures and contaminants that residents might find in their ducts.


This fungus can spread in enclosed areas like ducts when the climate is just right: that is, where humidity levels are above 60% and temperatures are between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. What’s also needed for its growth is the presence of water. This can seep into your ducts through leaks or can form as a result of condensation.

Mold will give off a revolting odor like that given off by dirty socks. At high levels, it can cause health problems: runny noses, sneezing and scratchy throats in some but, over a long period of time, respiratory conditions and even brain damage in others.

Leave mold abatement to the pros. The process normally involves vacuuming the mold spores with a HEPA-filtered vacuum and wiping down the vents with an antimicrobial agent.


You might notice a puff of dust from the air filters every time you turn the heater on. This means the ducts are filled with it, probably along with other debris (pollen and, if applicable, pet dander).

Your air conditioning and heating unit links to the outside air, so it’s only natural that pollutants will enter the ducts and collect there. This is why recurring air duct cleanings are highly recommended. At the very least, the air filter should be replaced regularly. Cheap fiberglass filters last about 30 days while higher-quality pleated filters last between three and six months.

Dust and debris will make your indoor air unhealthy, especially for dust allergy sufferers. Colds, sore throats and continual coughing can all be traced back to this build-up. In extreme cases, dirty ducts can create a condition known as sick building syndrome, where everyone suffers from respiratory issues to a greater or lesser degree.


Mice and rats can infiltrate your home looking for a warm place to feed and build a nest. If the ducts are not sealed, they may become the rodents’ target. Rats can transmit plague, salmonella and a virus called hantavirus through their feces, urine, and saliva. They can also enter your home, contaminate your food and bite you. A professional can eliminate these pests with traps, access control, and other methods.

Contact the air duct experts today at Hagerstown Heating & Cooling for professional duct cleaning service!

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