So you’ve just built or bought your brand new home and you figure: everything is new, so everything must be clean… right?
Ideally, yes it is. However, that might not be the case. A lot of the time there can be a significant amount of construction debris that makes its way into the duct system after it is installed. Typically the ductwork goes into a home when the walls and floors are all bare wood. The majority of the finished surfaces (sheetrock, wood flooring, tile, etc.) are installed after the HVAC system. Contractors will often cut these materials inside the home as its being built; this is even more common in our Minnesota climate. Even if they are making their major cuts outside, they will often need to make some minor cuts and do some trimming once the material is in place. The floor and wall vents are usually open during this time allowing for debris to fall into the system. With the extremes of our climate, workers may even turn on the HVAC system while they are installing the finishing materials to keep the home warm or cool enough. This will allow the air return side of the system to suck in sheetrock and sawdust. I’ve even been very suspicious a few times that the construction workers were just using the vents as a dustpan to clean up their mess! It all can lead to your system being dirty before you even move in.
So how do you know? It can be as easy as taking off a couple of your vents and looking inside. Try a couple of each kind, supply and return, in a few different spots in your home. Since the debris is new it should still be pretty close to the vent opening. Where the return ducts are typically the dirtier ones in an older home, in a new home it may be the supply vents that are the dirtiest. This is because many supply vents are in the floor where its east for construction materials to fall in. You can use a small mirror and flashlight to look around corners and see down the duct. Of course, a full inspection by a certified technician will give you a good idea as well.
Are you a home builder or remodeling contractor? We would love to work with you! Let us help provide your customers with a clean home when they move into their new space.