5 Ordinary Household Substances Compromising Your HVAC’s Efficiency

If a recent gas or electric bill was a lot more expensive than usual, it’s normal to be concerned about the efficiency of your heating or cooling. A lot of factors can cause your air conditioner, furnace, or other component to operate less than optimally. While the problem can sometimes be mechanical, ordinary substances around your house may be the actual culprit. When considering a solution to your HVAC efficiency problem, think about these five substances:

Pet Hair and Dander

It’s easy to see the physical evidence of your shedding dog or cat on couches, carpets, and other surfaces. You do your best to get rid of this hair by vacuuming, sweeping, and brushing, but a certain amount will inevitably end up in your HVAC system. When this hair ends up in filters, ducts, vents, or other areas that require good airflow, your heating and cooling efficiency can suffer.


Dust can be a catch-all word for all the tiny airborne particles that land on surfaces throughout your home, including things like decomposing insects, flour, and fibers. A certain percentage of this dust can even be dead skin that falls off you and your loved ones, so don’t blame the dog or cat for all your HVAC efficiency issues. Accumulated dust in your HVAC filters or vents can block airflow through your heating or cooling system and significantly reduce efficiency.

Dirt and Debris

Image via Flickr by Ivy Dawned

You work hard to keep the outside elements at bay, but dirt and debris from the outside world has a way of getting into your home anyway. Kids carry dirt on their shoes and pants, and particles naturally blow in through open doors and windows. These substances can quickly block your vents, clog air ducts, and soil your HVAC air filter. All these conditions force your heating and cooling system to work harder just to obtain the same effect.

Algae and Mold

You may not like to think of algae and mold as ordinary substances, but microscopic fungi and plant life are around us all the time. When it comes to your HVAC system, their presence only becomes a real problem when they start to clog the condensate pipe of your air conditioner. When this pipe is clogged, your unit will not operate at optimal efficiency.

Ductwork Insulation

Insulation is one of the most abundant substances in your home, but it’s not something you see every day. According to the Department of Energy, insulating your air ducts helps stabilize the temperature of heated or cooled air that passes through your ducts, among other options. If some of your ductwork insulation detaches, however, and clogs up your ducts, it can seriously impact your heating or cooling efficiency.

Vigilance is key when it comes to keeping these ordinary household substances from decreasing your HVAC efficiency. While regular cleaning can go a long way, any major maintenance, repair, or replacement job should be handled by a professional. Scheduled visits just twice a year can keep your heating and cooling operating at peak efficiency.


No Comments