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That refreshing cool breeze emanating from your A/C on hot summer days doesn’t get there without help. Heating and cooling systems all rely on air ducts to send that cold or warm air to you. These ducts do a lot more than just keep your house comfortable, they’re also a crucial part of your home’s ventilation system.

Air ducts are hidden away behind walls, curtains, and other screens in your home. Big awkward-looking ducts are seldom part of our home décor after all, but that also means that those ducts are easily forgotten. In this case, however, “out of sight, out of mind” won’t serve you well. Air ducts need to be regularly maintained for the safety and comfort of your home.

If you can’t remember the last time you cleaned your ducts (or forgot you had them till we reminded you) it’s probably time to conduct your regular maintenance. Here are a few great tips to get you started.

· Check the vents

The vents are the parts we see most often during the normal course of our day. This is the outer portion that delivers the air to us. The vents should never be covered by furniture or curtains. Make sure that the vent is clear of dust and debris, and that it is functioning well. Vents that are well maintained will help improve the longevity of the overall system.

· Replace the air filter

One of the most important parts of maintenance is to check the air filter on your system. Air filters keep dust and debris out of your air ducts, and they can get a surprisingly large amount of junk in them in a very short amount of time. Replacing these regularly is a critical part of maintenance.

· Use sealant

You can help prevent air leaks and lower your overall bill by sealing the edges of your duct. This may be a bit of a challenge for the average homeowner, but it can pay dividends in lower energy bills and the longevity of your system. Sealant should be inspected annually to check for air leaks before they become big problems.

· Use your senses

When your heating or cooling is running, how do the air ducts sound? Do you hear rattling or other suspicious sounds? What about the room you are in? Does the temperature in the room fluctuate, or does the system seem to work extra hard to get a certain part of your house hot or cold?

If so, you may need to call in a professional to get the air ducts cleaned(Air Duct Cleaning), before disaster strikes your system and leaves you shivering in the middle of winter, or sweltering at the height of summer.

Your air ducts take care of you all year long. Taking care of them once or twice a year can make a big difference in how long you can continue to enjoy those cool breezes on summer days, or warmth in the depth of winter.