Hi Willy, hope all is well.
Question - Do you think I should get my central air vents cleaned? The ones that run through the home? Thanks!
Willy's Reply: The short answer is NO. If your A/C ducts are made of plastic, they cannot be cleaned, and cleaning may damage the plastic liners. If they are metal, they may have some type of insulation inside them that can be damaged if cleaned. Even if they are unlined metal ducts, there have been studies that show if left undisturbed, dirt and dust that builds up inside ducts develops a hard shell over it. This shell harmless unless disturbed by cleaning and sometimes cleaning releases more dust and mold spores into the air.
Now there are conditions where you should clean the ducts - If there has been a fire in the home, it’s a way of helping to get rid of the smoke smell. If there is a continuing mold problem, then definitely clean the ducts. If there is a high moisture problem in the basement, the moisture can support mold growth inside the ducts.
The best thing you can do is change your air filters in the heat and A/C system about every two to three months. I tell people to use the 3-M Filtrate pleated air filters with a merv rating of 8 (see pic above). They remove 99.9% of all the dust particles in the supply air. Because they are so efficient at removing dust they clog quicker than a fiberglass filter, so you must remember to change them more frequently. If you have pets like dogs or cats, then you will need to change them more often as well.
The house is ours and we have some questions about the AC. We noticed that while the AC unit is on, and responds to the on and off switch, it's hot on the first and second floor and the basement is cool, but the AC vent is leaking water and there is ice around the piping (pictures below). Any thoughts or suggestions?
Lindsay & Tommy N.
Insufficient airflow causes the coils to drop below freezing. The humidity in the air then collects on the coils, creating an even greater buildup of ice on your evaporator. This is usually a result of a dirty air filter that needs to be replaced, but can also be caused by an air filter that is too restrictive. It can also be (but is not typically caused) by a low refrigerant level.
Things you can do: first turn you system off so it defrosts. Check your filters if clogged replace them. Also be sure your blower motor is working and air is coming out of the registers. Be sure that the dampers are open. Set the thermostat to the "fan on" position. This setting causes the blower motor / fan to come on and run continuously without heating or cooling your house. Then take a piece of paper towel or toilet paper and hold it in front of each register. The ones with the handle on them should be blowing air into the room. The ones without handles are the return ducts. They should be sucking in air.
Hope that helped!