My house is equipped with a forced air furnace and air conditioning system. The heating and cooling units rely on a ventilation system that is concealed inside the walls, ceilings and crawlspace. The ductwork carries the heated/cooled air to vents located in each room of the house. Any problems with the ducts, such as leaks, corrosion, crushed pipes or a buildup of contaminants, directly impacts the performance of the furnace and air conditioner. The components end up running for longer cycles, using up more energy and experiencing more wear and tear. We’re subjected to problems with indoor air quality, inferior comfort and higher monthly utility bills. I’ve realized that it’s especially important to keep the duct system in peak working order. I make a point to schedule a duct inspection every year. Over the last ten years, I’ve only been faced with a couple of issues. The one time, there were some leaks at the seams and tiny holes in the pipes that needed to be sealed. Because of these imperfections, approximately fifteen percent of our heated and cooled air was being allowed to escape. Just a couple of years ago, the HVAC contractor recommended duct cleaning. He said there was a significant accumulation of dust, webs, mold and other debris within the system. The contractor brought in a machine that resembles a giant vacuum cleaner. There was a lengthy hose with a brush attachment that was inserted into the ducts. The brush dislodged stubborn contaminants which were then sucked up into the hose. Along with regular duct inspection, I am conscientious about having the furnace and air conditioner professionally serviced each year.