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Save Energy by Cleaning Your Home Air System

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(ARA) – As energy costs rise, many of us cringe at the thought of opening our monthly utility bill. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, heating and cooling account for about 56 percent of the energy use in a typical U.S. home, making it the largest energy expense for most homes. Instead of just accepting the cost as a fact of life, why not look into ways you can make efficiency changes? One significant thing you can do to increase energy efficiency is to make sure your heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system is clean.

Having a clean HVAC system can increase efficiency up to 30 percent. Experts suggest cleaning your system every 2 to 5 years, depending on various conditions that might affect the cleanliness of the system. Things like pets, children, pollen, dust, renovation, and nearby construction, can drastically affect the amount of dirt entering your home and your home’s air conveyance system.

When it comes to energy efficiency, a clean evaporator coil is the most important part of a home HVAC system. In the system there are metal coil tubes. Dust and dirt can drastically affect how these tubes work. For example, when your house is being air conditioned, the air flows across the cold coils. Over time, these coils become matted with dust and dirt, significantly reducing the system’s ability to cool the air. Your system must work longer and harder to keep your house cool, therefore costing you more money.

Dust and debris build-up on components of the system, such as the blower fins or the walls of the ductwork, will greatly decrease the efficiency of your system. These contaminants significantly decrease air flow, resulting in your furnace or air conditioning unit consuming more energy to provide the desired level of comfort.

The easiest way to see the dirt levels in your own home system is to remove a register and look in the duct with a flashlight and mirror. Some people even reach in and take a picture with their cell phone or digital camera. If you see dirt and dust, contact your local certified HVAC cleaning contractor with questions.

If you think your house might benefit from having its HVAC system cleaned, a great place to go for more information and to find certified cleaning contractors is the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA). NADCA is the only organization that provides certification to HVAC cleaning contractors around the world so you can be sure that your contractor knows the proper ways to clean your system. NADCA also publishes an internationally recognized standard — Assessment, Cleaning & Restoration of HVAC Systems (ACR) — that specifies requirements for proper cleaning for the industry.

Here is a checklist for selecting a residential contractor:

  • Will the contractor be cleaning the complete system, including coils, blower fanâ