When you own investment properties, making sure you schedule regular maintenance can save you a lot of hassle from having to do costly emergency repairs. If you’re a first time landlord or just want to know more about how to best maintain your properties’ ducts and dryer vents, this is the guide for you. Learning about what you can expect, how often maintenance is required, and how much you’ll be paying for duct and dryer vent services can ensure that your properties stay in tip top shape for the duration of your ownership.
What Kind of Maintenance is Required?
Dryer vents and ducts need to be kept clean in order to ensure that your properties are safe. Dryer vents can become clogged over time, and in order to prevent house fires, you’ll need to make sure they’re not blocked. Ducts should also be cleaned to improve the air quality in your properties. Dust, mold, and other contaminants can build up in ducts and may cause health problems for you or your tenants. As a landlord, you’re responsible for providing a safe and healthy environment for your tenants, and duct and dryer vent cleanings need to be a part of your maintenance checklist.
How Often Do You Have to Do It?
Dryer vents should be cleaned about once a year, though you can schedule regular checks for blockages every six months to be extra careful. As for duct cleanings, those can be done less frequently. Duct cleaning is suggested every three to five years, but that time frame may vary depending on what part of the country your property is in, how often the heating and cooling system is used, or if anyone living in the space has health problems related to air quality.
How can you tell when it’s time to schedule a cleaning? Contact your property management company and have them schedule duct cleaning services if any of these apply to your situation:
- You suspect mold is in the ducts.
- You can see visible puffs of dust leave the air vents when the system is turned on.
- If there is/was a pest infestation in the property (such as before you took ownership).
- Your air filters are heavily coated with dust when you replace them—this can be a sign you’re overdue for a cleaning.
- You’ve done heavy renovations in a property. Drywall dust and other contaminants can build up in the ducts during construction, and prior to tenant move-in, the ducts should be cleaned.
- There are a lot of pets in the building. Ducts will need more frequent cleaning if there is pet hair and dander in them.
How Much Will It Cost?
Cleaning your dryer vents generally runs from $60-$150, depending on who you work with. Duct cleanings can be more costly, depending on the size of the property and how much work needs to be done. In order to get the best deal, be sure that the company you choose for the service offers full service cleaning, which should include a full cleaning of the heating and cooling unit. Get written estimates by a few HVAC cleaning companies—reputable companies should provide a free inspection and estimate. Don’t fall for “all-inclusive” deals that are extremely low-cost, because they can be very cursory jobs that will just have you calling another company to do the work the first company missed. High quality duct and dryer vent cleaning can take a few hours and may involve sophisticated equipment—not just a half an hour with a Shop-Vac. If you’re not sure how to find the most reputable HVAC and duct cleaner in Chicago, your property management company can help. They should have a list of qualified, reliable contractors that you can trust.
What Happens If You Don’t Do It?
Dryer vent fires are a very real threat if you don’t do routine cleanings. According to the National Fire Protection Association, dryers were the cause of more than 15,500 home fires in 2010, so taking the chance simply isn’t worth it. Less serious issues can include longer dry cycles (which range from being merely inconvenient to downright problematic, if your tenants threaten to withhold rent until maintenance is performed), or a clogged vent system. If the vent system is clogged and not exhausting properly, it can wear out your appliances much faster due to the higher heat. Wait too long and you may need to completely replace the vent system, which can be a costly procedure—you’ll be wishing you had paid those smaller fees to clean the vents!
Neglecting duct cleaning can also lead to dust and other contaminants building up over time. Beyond improving the quality of the air in your properties, cleaning the ducts will help improve the efficiency of the building’s heating and cooling units. When it comes to winter property maintenance and ensuring your tenants stay safe and warm through the cold spells, duct cleaning can play a big part.
Want to know more about duct cleaning and dryer vent maintenance? At Lofty, we’re committed to helping landlords and property owners live the life they deserve to be living, and that includes helping you take care of building maintenance and repairs. Contact us anytime and let us take some of the responsibility off your hands, so that you can spend your time doing things you want to be doing.
Speak with one of our experts to find out how we can supercharge your investment.