How Do I Know If My Air Ducts Need To Be Cleaned?

Duct Cleaning Services in The Woodlands, Cypress, Sugar Land, Pearland, Houston, TX and the Surrounding Areas  


Duct Cleaning in Pearland, Cypress, The Woodlands, Sugar Land, and Houston, TXIf you are experiencing excess dust, black stuff blowing out, mold or fungus on your vent covers/registers, odors, allergies, health concerns, people complaining, moving into a new home, or doing a remodel or renovation project, you should have your entire air conditioning system and air ducts cleaned.



Excess Dust

Have you noticed that dust is accumulating around your home or office more quickly than it used to? It’s possible that your HVAC system is responsible for your extra housework! If your ductwork is filled with dust, the air flying through your ductwork is picking up that dust and depositing it on your kitchen counters, on your shelves, creating a fine layer of dust over your cup of coffee in the morning.

Over time, all that dust that has settled into your ductwork builds up. Then when the air conditioner kicks on, the airflow sends the extra dust all the way out of the ductwork and out of the vent, where it lands on your computer screen, your desk, your shelves, and everywhere.

Debris/Stuff Blowing Out

When you get into your office or kitchen table in the morning, do you find little particles of dust or black stuff scattered all over your desk? When you look up, do you see blacks stuff dangling from the A/C vent overhead? If so, then it’s definitely time to have those ducts cleaned.

Ductwork in commercial buildings is often lined with fiberglass insulation, which not only helps the cold air stay cold as it moves from the A/C unit to your office but also reduces the humming mechanical A/C noise from traveling through the ductwork. Over time, the insulation can deteriorate, especially if it has been infected with mold. Once the insulation starts deteriorating: it starts blowing out, leaving little specs of dirt and mold.

If this sounds like your office or home, give Power Vac America a call to solve these problems.


Sometimes the fungal growth in the HVAC system is so pervasive that it literally begins to climb out of the air conditioning system and into your home.  This is a sure-fire sign that you need to have your ducts cleaned.  It’s important to note that this fungal growth can’t be solved by simply cleaning the outside of the vents.  The inside of the ductwork is going to be just as infected.

One of the hazards of living in Houston, or anywhere along the Gulf Coast, is that along with all that moisture that we get in the air, we’re also getting a lot of mold spores. For the most part, this isn’t a big deal, it’s just a fact of life—there will be mold spores in the air. But, if those mold spores end up settling in your air ducts, and the conditions are right for them to become comfortable there, then you’ve got problems.

An obvious sign that moldy locks is on the loose in your home or office is that you’ll find little specks of black stuff growing around the air vents. Or maybe you’ll see little specks of black stuff on your desk when you get into the office in the morning.

Moldy supply air duct

In the photo above, mold has begun to grow on the tiles surrounding the ceiling register. And while those ceiling tiles might look bad from the outside, that type of growth is a good indication that the inside is much worse. Over time, the dust that settled in to this ductwork becomes contaminated with bacteria and fungal matter, which then becomes a food source for the mold. If untreated, the bacteria and fungi will continue to grow until it forms an almost solid layer of mold like the one that you see below.

Cleaned and treated supply air duct

After a construction project, it is critical to have your HVAC system cleaned. For both residential and commercial, the General Contractor will be running the air conditioning system for both temperature and humidity control. With the systems running, the construction dust is pulled into the return air system and circulates throughout the system. When the systems are not running, the dust simply settles inside of the supply ductwork.

Even if your building has great air filters installed, you’re still going to get some particles that escape the filters and settle into the ductwork. Dust can also build up in your HVAC system if you’ve done construction in your office or building, such as replacing carpet or sanding floors. Are you constantly dusting off your computer screen? Do you notice a layer of fine dust on your shelves?


Are there musty odors wafting through the air, and do they mysteriously disappear when the A/C is off? If so, it’s possible that there is fungal or bacterial growth in your A/C’s air handler unit or in the insulation just inside the vent covers. These odors are caused by mold or mildew inside the HVAC system. Power Vac America can clean and treat these areas and make sure that your home or offices stops offending your olfactory senses.

Allergies and Health

Have you noticed that you’re sneezing more, or getting headaches for no reason when you are at home or at your office, and then whenever you leave, those symptoms tend to disappear? This is a good indication that there is something in the inside air that’s making you ill, something like mold or dust build-up. Dirty ducts won’t always cause indoor air allergies, but it is more likely with people have more sensitive respiratory tracts, like babies, the elderly, asthmatics, people recovering from surgery or hospitalizations, or anyone else whose immune system is otherwise compromised. In these situations, it’s very important to make sure that the air they are breathing is not causing them to be more vulnerable.

Besides mold, another allergy irritant frequently found in ductwork is pet dander. Even if you do not own a pet, if the previous owners of your home had a dog or cat then you may be suffering from allergies from residual pet dander that is entering the air in your home every time you turn on your A/C.

Read more on the health effects of poor indoor air quality on our website.

Buying a New Home

In the event that you are moving into a home that is new to you, but has had previous owners, it’s always a good idea to have the HVAC system cleaned first. Who knows how many critters have lived in that house over the years, or how many cigarettes were smoked in the various rooms; just as you shouldn’t use the previous owner’s toothbrush, you shouldn’t breathe the previous owner’s air either.

Materials that can accumulate in ductwork over the lifetime of a homeowner include: pet dander, human hair, human skin cells, pollen, dust mite parts, and mold and other fungal infections.

Better to start life in your new home fresh!

New Construction or Remodel

Given the fact that Houston knows only two seasons: summer (hot) and almost summer (not quite as hot), it’s very likely that your A/C will be on throughout any home or office remodeling projects, or perhaps just running as soon as possible as might be the case with a newly constructed home or office. While the cooling air is a necessity in an enclosed space where people are doing manual labor, it can cause big problems for you’re A/C system. The main issue is drywall dust, which is so fine that it doesn’t matter how often you change the filter—if the A/C system was on during construction, there will be dust in the air ducts.

It’s very important to make sure that all the dust and debris is removed; if it remains, drywall dust will build up and can then provide an excellent opportunity for mold or mildew growth… let’s just say, drywall dust is a superfood in the fungi world.

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