People with an HVAC system get the best of both worlds in terms of heating and cooling. During the winter, a furnace warms up the air, and the fan blows it through air ducts to keep a house warm.

During the summer, like now, a condenser outside cools the air, moves it back to the furnace, and the furnace fan distributes it once again through those same air ducts to cool a home. But while people often know immediately when there’s something wrong with a furnace, or an air conditioner, air ducts are another matter.

Because air ducts don’t have moving parts, people mistakenly assume that they’ll work perfectly forever. But even with no moving parts, air ducts can get dirty, and that can have an impact on your home in a few different ways.

You End Up Paying More

A little dirt on your car only hurts the look of your vehicle, but dirt in your air ducts can cost you money. When dirt gets in your air ducts, it can start to move around and eventually settle in other areas of the home. You should check your registers, grills and other vent exit points to see if a puff of dust appears when air is being pumped.

Once dirt gets into air ducts, it can start to impede air flow. It can settle down within a furnace itself, or accumulate on the filters, and once this happens, both your furnace and your air conditioner need to work longer and harder to hit and maintain the desired temperature. This ends up raising your heating, cooling and even gas bills.

Sinus Disorders

The most unpredictable aspect of dirt is its actual composition, it is not a single element like steel or tin. Dirt may be made up flakes of human skin, bits of fur or dander from household pets like dogs, cats, and others, or even the dust that might get kicked up from a litter box.

And dirt, of course, isn’t sterile or safe. Depending on the type of dirt you have, if it gets lodged somewhere in air ducts, it can create an ideal breeding ground for mold, or other contaminants. These irritants, because of their air duct location, can then be efficiently spread throughout a home, irritating sinuses.

The Asthma Consideration

Dirty air ducts can even pose a serious risk to someone with asthma. Dirt particles like dust can contain allergens breeding in the air ducts, or even pulled in from outside but not caught in a filter because it is overwhelmed with dirt.

Dust, pollen, and mold are all capable of triggering an asthma attack. If you have these particles clogging your air vents, you run the risk endangering family or friends with asthmatic condition. This, and other respiratory infections may have their origin in your duct work if you find that you or other family members are plagued with sinus or respiratory issues with no apparent source.