Air conditioning and heating — they're great while they're working, aren't they? They keep rooms cool during the stifling heat of the summer and battle the invasion of cold air during the winter. But don't assume that everything is fine with your heating and cooling system just because it's running. Dust and other pollutants could be building up inside your ducts, affecting your health, your system's operation, and your wallet.

Breathing Problems

You can't stop all of the dirt from getting into your heating and cooling system. It's not possible. But, you can reduce it, and there's good reason to. According to NBC News, dust in the heating system contributes to worsened asthma symptoms. Children and pets are more affected by dust because they're lower to the ground where the particles circulate and fall.

And easy solution is to have a contractor clean your vents. You should also replace your HEPA filter every year, especially before turning on your heat in the winter. Over the summer, a lot of dirt, pollen, and hair settle into the vents and are shot out in one big burst when you first kick on the heater in the fall.

Heating/Cooling Problems

When your heating or cooling system breaks down, 90 percent of the time it's because of dust. Those particles swirl around and filter through the system, slowly collecting on the electrical components, fans, fuel sprayers, and ignition contacts.

Air conditioners generate a lot of heat to cool air. If they overheat, the internal parts may stop working. Clogged fuel sprayers or ignition contacts will prevent fuel from burning and generating heat. Even if you have your ducts clean, it's a good idea to have a licensed contractor inspect the other areas of your furnace. 

Wallet Problems

Sure, you're going to pay more if your heating and cooling system decides it can't take anymore and heads off into an early retirement. But, even if it's still trucking along, you could be spending more simply because your system isn't operating as efficiently.

All it takes is one millimeter of dirt to decrease your unit's efficiency by up to 22 percent. Even if you're conscientious about your energy use and use your heating or cooling system sparingly, 22 percent is enough to raise a $50 bill to $62. That's $144 by the time the year ends, and that estimate is extremely low. Imagine how much you could save in one hour through a professional inspection and cleaning with someone like Adams Refrigeration Co.?