When Is It Time to Clean Your HVAC Ducts?

People are often confused about the best time to clean out their HVAC ducts. After all, not every instruction manual lets you know when the ideal time to clean your ducts is. Remember, HVAC installation is one thing; HVAC maintenance is another.

You should be well aware of the right time to clean out your ducts for optimal performance. The quality of your indoor air often dictates the health of the people in your home. This is why it’s important to keep your HVAC ducts clean and in good condition.

If you’re not sure when to clean your ducts, there are a few signs you can watch out for. We’ll discuss these signs below so you know when it’s time to clean out your ducts.

How Often HVAC Ducts Should Be Cleaned

After your HVAC installation is done, your ducts should be kept clean for them to function well. Even if you have the best filters, your ducts are likely to collect debris. Dust and other particles escape the filters and enter your HVAC system using other means.

Having a filter can help, but it doesn’t mean that your HVAC ducts will always remain clean. Regular HVAC maintenance is important for all types of ducts. This is especially true for those living in areas with high pollution. Even those living in areas that attract too much dirt and dust need HVAC maintenance.

So, the number of times your ducts should be cleaned would depend on where you live as well. Also, there are HVAC installation companies in many cities that offer cleaning services. HVAC installation in Fort Worth often comes with regular maintenance visits from professionals. The same goes for HVAC installation in other large cities.

These companies offer maintenance and cleaning services to help increase your air quality. In most cases, a duct system needs to be cleaned every 2 to 5 years. You would ideally need to exchange your filters at least twice a year for the best results.

If you do this, you can increase the time you would need between professional cleanings. You would also reduce the need for HVAC repair between maintenance sessions. If your system has been active for 3 or more years without a filter change, it probably needs cleaning. But this isn’t the only sign to watch out for after your HVAC installation.

We’ll talk about some more factors that could influence the timing of your HVAC duct cleaning.

Your Ducts Become Clogged

The first sign to watch out for after HVAC installation is the clogging of your ducts. Any HVAC mini-split system or similar system would need to be checked for clogging quite often. But it’s not always easy to identify if your ducts are clogged if you have no experience with HVAC systems.

There are a few signs of clogged ducts you can watch out for to make things easier. One of these signs is the presence of small puffs of dust when your HVAC system starts running. If you see these puffs, it’s probably time for a thorough HVAC maintenance appointment.

The ducts don’t throw up puffs of dust if nothing is clogging the HVAC system. This is true when the HVAC cooling or heating system is switched on. The air should be able to flow smoothly through the ducts in most cases. As a result, visible dust from your HVAC duct is a sure sign that it is clogged. 

Strange Noises from the Ducts

Strange noises coming from the HVAC duct are another red flag. Those who have had their HVAC system for a while know what it sounds like. Any sounds that differ from the usual sounds should be a warning sign. Strange noises from the duct after your HVAC installation could mean the duct is clogged.

In most cases, the HVAC duct shouldn’t make a lot of noise. This is especially true if you’ve had an HVAC installation done recently. If it does make too much noise, you should check if the ducts are clogged. If the ducts aren’t clogged, then the HVAC system may need soundproofing.

No one likes an HVAC duct that’s too loud when it’s operational. It’s always better to ensure the duct makes as little noise as possible when the system is on. This will help you and the people in your home have a good night’s sleep when the HVAC system is on.

You could choose to have HVAC duct soundproofing installed to reduce the noise from the duct. You could ask your HVAC installation company to do this soundproofing work for you. They should be able to take care of HVAC sound dampening to ensure your ducts don’t make too much noise.

This applies to both old and new HVAC air ducts. If your soundproofing is done but the duct is still loud, get it cleaned. You should be hearing no more than soft motor sounds when your system is running.

Inconsistent Airflow

Inconsistent or unstable airflow in your home is a warning sign of clogged ducts. If you’ve had your HVAC system for a while, you know how it operates. You would be well aware of how it manages airflow throughout your home. Different rooms in your house may have different airflow needs.

A good HVAC system would be able to handle these needs with consistent airflow. If the ducts are clogged, you’ll notice a change in the airflow around the house. Your bedroom, bathroom, or other rooms may start experiencing inconsistent airflow. The HVAC vents are supposed to deliver consistent airflow, so this shouldn’t be the case.

Inconsistent airflow can affect the air quality around your house as well. So, it would be best to call HVAC repair services if you notice such a change in airflow.

Strange Odors

This is one of the most obvious signs of an HVAC system that needs cleaning. Your home should be odorless or fresh-smelling if you have a clean HVAC system. The last thing you should be experiencing is unpleasant odors from the air ducts.

Strange odors emanating from the ducts could indicate the presence of debris in them. But first, check if the odor is coming from another place around the house. If it’s not, then it may be time for a serious HVAC maintenance appointment. You would need to call a technician to check if there’s any debris lodged in the ducts.

But there are a few things you can do to check the ducts before calling a technician. One of these things is getting close to the ducts and sniffing them. Getting a good sniff should help you verify if there’s any debris stuck in there. If there is, then you can go ahead and contact an HVAC repair service to assist you.

Insect Infestation

Insects tend to settle down in ducts and air passages if there’s dirt in there. The presence of an insect infestation is sure to indicate that your ducts are dusty. These ducts would need immediate cleaning if you wanted clean air in your home. Insects wouldn’t normally flock to clean ducts, so this is your sign to get yours cleaned.

It’s essential to get your ducts cleaned after an insect infestation. Breathing in the air from infested ducts can cause the spread of disease-causing microbes. It could also lead to the spread of common allergens that could affect everyone in your home. Insect droppings and vermin dander can cause serious health problems if inhaled.

So, if you spot an infestation, it would be best to call an HVAC repair service to get rid of it.

High Energy Bills

This may not seem like the most obvious sign of an HVAC system that needs maintenance. After all, it doesn’t occur to everyone to check their ducts if they notice high energy bills. People often blame high bills on a change in weather or increased appliance usage.

However, a high energy bill could indicate that your HVAC system isn’t working properly. Your bills should be pretty much the same every year, regardless of the weather. So, if your bills are suddenly high, it may be time to check the ducts.

Compare your bills with the ones you received a few months ago. If you had your HVAC system then, the comparison should be straightforward enough. Once you notice the recent bills are too high, start inspecting the HVAC ducts. A clogged or blocked duct could lead to inefficient airflow through the HVAC system.

This in turn would prevent the system from effectively heating or cooling your home. Your HVAC system would end up using more energy to heat or cool the same spaces as before. It would take more energy to maintain the temperature in your home.

This is what would lead to an unusual increase in your energy bills. You would need to schedule an HVAC repair or maintenance visit in such a scenario. Or, you would have to pay the increased bill amount every month. Ignoring such a problem could also lead to the deterioration of your HVAC system.


These are some of the signs to watch out for with your system post-HVAC installation. You would need to keep your eyes open for these signs if you want to breathe in high-quality air. Keeping your HVAC ducts clean could also help you keep your energy bills in check.

You should be able to spot the smallest signs of clogged ducts to keep your system working well. In any case, it’s better to schedule regular HVAC repair and maintenance appointments. This would help you keep your HVAC system in great condition for many years to come.