If you live in a place where it gets warm during the year, you are probably familiar with air conditioning. This is especially true in Texas, including the Fort Worth area. I can hardly imagine getting through a summer without having air conditioning to protect me from the blazing heat.
Now, with these systems comes the need to install and maintain them. One of the key components of them is the air duct. We might not think about them much, but they are in fact what helps to keep everything working well! That means keeping them clean and performing any repairs necessary is quite critical.
Due to their nature, there are a lot of different kinds of air ducts. They have to be able to adapt to each place they are installed, after all. Each is specialized for certain places or environments, so it is good to learn about all of them!
Fiberglass is just about what it sounds like – a fiber infused plastic that has glass in it to reinforce it. It is a very common material because it is more affordable and more flexible than carbon fibers. It is great for this purpose because it does not conduct heat or electricity, and it is almost always inert (chemically speaking).
For this type of duct, the fiberglass can line the exterior, interior, or both. It is best used with firm ducts. However, this type has fallen out of fashion because they are destroyed quite easily over time. They tend to fall apart and release particles of the fiberglass into the air (which can be quite dangerous to inhale).
This is the easiest type to install, but there are a few caveats. It is highly flexible, as the name implies, and good for hard-to-reach spots in an installation. However, it should not be left at a ninety-degree angle.
It also tends to need support if it is in long stretches. This kind is usually made of metal coils and a layer of plastic that is flexible. The insulation can be made of glass wool but may also contain polyethylene.
Usually it will be cube-like in nature and will not have any elbows or off-sets. They are a good option if you are low on space, but most of the time they are used in conjunction with another type.
Now, when we hear this word, we might think of bamboo or wood. However, it can be used in this context as well! Rigid ductwork is reliable and lasts a long time, as the name implies.
There are a few subcategories here. The first, and most common, is sheet metal. It is usually made out of aluminum or galvanized steel. Notably, it is lightweight and repels mold – however, it can leak if it is used in long stretches.
Next, there are rigid ducts that are line with fiberglass. However, like I noted above, these can be hard to clean and spread allergens in the air. It can even spread mold if you aren’t careful about maintaining them, but it is unfortunately quite difficult. There are options out there such as an Air Duct Cleaning Ft Worth website if you have this type.
Finally, there are fiberboard ones. Usually, their exteriors are coated in some sort of foil, and they use compressed fiberglass (that is pressed into a board form). It is fairly inexpensive to install but can experience some of the same issues as the kind above – mostly involving mold and mildew. It can also cause friction that can impact the overall effectiveness of an HVAC system.
Do We Need to Keep Them Clean?
Interestingly, this is a debated topic. However, I would say it is generally a good idea to have them routinely cleaned and maintained at least once a year – probably twice for the best results.
Think about it. The air conditioning we receive is stuff that we breathe in on the regular in our homes, while we are out running errands, and usually at work as well (unless you work outside). The particles in this air matter.
Dust particles are never fun to breathe in. A lot of us are actually allergic to dust mites, as well – I know I am. There are some conditions in which you should absolutely get yours cleaned.
First of all, if they are visibly moldy, you should seek professional cleaning. This can be extremely hazardous for your health to be around and breathe in. Some kinds of mold are highly toxic, and most will cause breathing problems and can aggravate asthma.
If you would like more information on this, you can check out this page – after all, it is a good idea to try to figure out why the mold is growing so that you can correct that condition. If you don’t, it will probably just grow back again even after having a cleaning.
If you notice that dust or other debris is being discharged from the vents or registers in your home, that’s another sign you should probably get them cleaned. There should never be that much build up inside a duct – it can hamper its effectiveness, on top of being a health risk.
Finally, if you notice vermin or rodents running around in the ducts, you should have them inspected and taken care of. You should probably invest in an exterminator first but removing any of the detritus left behind is also critical.
While it may not seem important at first glance, it is always best to try to keep your air ducts clean to increase overall effectiveness and reduce any potential health risks. While there is not a lot of proof that it is beneficial just yet (there simply have not been enough studies about it), it certainly does not cause harm.
For that reason, I would recommend at least checking out your options. That is the best way to prevent issues in the future that could be costly, after all!
Thanks to airductcleaningftworth.com for consulting.