How Do I Clean My Home’s Air Ducts?

As an HVAC company, this is a question that we are frequently asked from homeowners that are concerned with dirt and debris building up in the air duct system.

Your home’s air ducts are a vital part of any HVAC system. Clean air ducts not only move more air, they move that air more efficiently–reducing your energy bill. While this is important, there can be negative health consequences associated with dirty air ducts as well. Mold, mildew, and a number of allergens can accumulate in your home’s ductwork–potentially leading to health issues to residents of your home.

Use these steps to clean your ducts.

Cleaning Your Own Air Ducts

The best ways to keep your air ducts clean is to first prevent them from getting dirty. The easiest way to do this is to ensure that you routinely change your filters–every 90 days or less is ideal.

If your ducts are already dirty and in need of a cleaning, the first step to cleaning your air ducts is to know what to look for. First, check for leaks. Leaks can let dirt and debris into your air duct system in your duct system behind and the filters installed can do nothing to remove these as the debris is already present behind the flow or air.

Once you have identified areas with leaks, first seal these areas to prevent further infiltration into your ductwork system.

What You’ll Need To Clean Your Air Ducts

  1. Vacuum Cleaner – a household vacuum cleaner with a retractable hose will work, but a heavy duty shop vac with an extended hose is ideal.
  2. Stiff Bristled Brush – Any brush with stiff bristles will work, but something like a toilet brush will work best.
  3. Screw Driver  – Your registers are likely screwed into place and will need to be removed before you can clean them.

Now that you have gathered the proper equipment, turn of the power to your HVAC system. Use your brush to thoroughly clean the grates of any build up of dust, dirt, and debris. If you have an extendable brush, clean as far into the ducts as possible to loose the dust–making it easier to remove. Once you have loosed the dust in the vents, use your vacuum host to reach deep into the ducts to suck out as much of the dirt and debris as possible.

This is the extent that most DIY duct cleaners can attain. While this may reduce the amount of dust in your home’s air ducts, it will not realistically give them a thorough cleaning. If you are experiencing allergies or other negative health effects from your ductwork, this is unlikely to have much of an impact and a thorough deep cleaning from a professional will be required.

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