At the end of last spring, when I turned on the air conditioner, I immediately started sneezing.
I figured there was a buildup of dust within the system from it sitting idle.
I hoped that after it ran for a while, the problems would go away. Instead, my complaints only got worse. There were constantly particles floating around in the air and gathering on surfaces, requiring me to dust and vacuum far more often. The air coming from the vents had a strange smell, and I’d wake up every morning with a nasty headache. Plus, the air conditioner wasn’t keeping up with demand. I lowered the thermostat several times and yet certain rooms in the house felt slightly overheated and sticky. Paying an extremely expensive electric bill prompted me to call an HVAC contractor for repair. The technician inspected and serviced the entire system. He then informed me that the majority of the issues were due to dirty ductwork. He said that every time the conditioned air passed through the duct system, it was picking up all sorts of harmful contaminants and spreading them throughout the house. The accumulation of debris within the pipes was also restricting airflow, forcing the air conditioner to run longer, work harder and consume more energy. He found all sorts of disgusting stuff concealed inside the ducts. There was mold growth, dander, pollen, bugs, webs and even some dead mice. I’ve now realized that I need to have the duct system professionally checked out every couple of years. The duct cleaning process wasn’t overly expensive and it solved all the concerns with the cooling system.