How to Clean Your Own Air Ducts | Expert’s Tips and Guide

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We are often conscious about the quality of food we eat, the purity or safety of the water we drink, the chemicals or harmful agents in the products that we use. But how many of us think about the quality of air we breathe. Obviously, it is something that we often ignore in our daily life. We can live a safe and healthy life if we do care for our surroundings along with ourselves.

Today most of the houses and apartments are usually constructed with ventilation and HVAC system. They are made firmly, it is rare that both fresh and musty air passes at the same time. But if it occurs, then air ducts fill with pollutants. Definitely, this kind of air is unhealthy for humans.

It is quite easy to see dirt on any open or exposed surface but what do you think about areas like air ducts. How much dirt, dust can be built over a period of time. There may be insects like spiders and cockroaches or even mold inside the air vents and air ducts in your HVAC system (Heating, Ventilation Air Conditioning). The spider’s web inside the air vents may affect the airflow. There are many ways to get it cleaned. Some of the natural way of cleaning air ducts are mentioned below to help you to perform this difficult task easily.

Is Duct Cleaning a Waste of Money?

When you turn on an uncleaned HVAC system, allergens like dust, mold, pollen, fur, and other harmful bacteria spread in the air. You easily inhale these invisible contaminations along with air. This could cause several problems to you including nausea, sneezing, coughing, nasal congestion, and headaches. It could be more dangerous for people who have a weaker immune system or respiratory problems like asthma.

This job will take your time and effort but saves your money. Moreover, well-maintained and cleaned air ducts ultimately enhance the cooling and heating system.

Along with maintenance, it is recommended to clean such areas regularly once a year or at least after every two years. However, air duct cleaning may cost you expensive, if it is done by professionals or experts.

How Do i know if My Air Ducts Need to be Cleaned?

Signs your Air Ducts Need Cleaning

Its necessary to clean your air duct regularly to make better your HVAC system. If your home cooling area is cleaned then you will surely live a healthy life. Because dirty air duct gets polluted and hides lots of dangerous germs that can cause deadly diseases like asthma and other skin allergies.

Following are the some reasons that you must clean you air duct:

  1. Unpleasant smell
  2. Clogged air ducts with dust
  3.  Presence of mold and mildew
  4. Bad air flow in house
  5. Rodents and insects in ducts Or Signs of pests
  6. High electricity bills
  7. Bad or strange noises from ducts

How to Deal with Mold in Duct

If you ever find mold inside the duct area, call the professionals. Because they have the expertise to remove such perilous fungus. No matter how far is the mold, they have the tools to get to hard-to-reach areas, where a normal vacuum can’t work.

How to Stop Dirt and Dust from Entering the HVAC System

  • Always use a good air filter suggested by the manufacturer.
  • Replace filters periodically. If they are blocked, immediately change them.
  • At the time of maintenance or cleaning the HVAC system, make sure to clean drain pans and cooling coils as well.
  • Regularly use vacuum cleaners in your home. It reduces the dust level.
  • If your HVAC system contains in-duct humidification option, make sure to operate it and also regularly maintain it by experts. If there is no such option available, you can also use a separate humidifier in a room
  • To avoid condensation in the system, make sure ducts are correctly sealed and insulated.

Functions of Air Filter in Ducts

In the duct area, an air filter works the same as lungs do in the human body. It purifies the air from atmospheric particles and other pollutants like mold, pet dander, fungal spores, and dust.

Cleaning of Air Ducts Complete Procedure

Ductwork Cleaning Tools List

Before starting the cleaning process, you need the following things

  • Screwdriver
  • Vacuum
  • Air duct cleaning brush
  • Paper towels/Cleaning cloth
  • Air filter
  • Gloves

Understanding Vents and their Flow Direction

After gathering the essential tools and equipment, the next step is to identify the vents. Don’t worry if you are a new homeowner or this is the first time to deal with such a cleaning job.

You can classify each type of vent with a piece of tissue. Place a tissue on the vent, if it sticks, it is a return duct. This type of vent carries air from the room area to the HVAC system. On the other hand, if the tissue doesn’t stick to the outlet, it is a supply vent. The function of this vent is to bring hot or cool air from HVAC to the room, depending on the settings that you have already done.

Note: Remember, you don’t need to clean vents on the outside of your home. Since it is not a part of your HVAC system, it only blows the air into and out of the garret.

Step by Step Duct Cleaning

  1. Unscrew the duct covers and put the air grill plates aside. Now simply wash them and let it dry.
  2. Hide the supply vents with paper towels. Covering such vents that are not being cleaned at the time, is to keep the dust and dirt from blowing in and out while cleaning other areas.
  3. Untie the dust using brush handle, lose the dirt and grime from side walls and ductwork.
  4. Turn on the thermostat to the “fan” position. It will help you to move the loose dirt while removing dirt.
  5. Use Vacuum to attach the brush and nozzle attachment with a vacuum hose to pull maximum dirt.
  6. Changing air filter. After cleaning dust from the ducts, the next is to replace the air filter with the old one.
  7. Replacing vent covers. Fix the dried vent covers

Applying Steam Clean to HVAC System          

Since steam cleaning is an eco-friendly method, an HVAC system including duct, air vents, and coil can be cleaned by green steam (dry steam). It contains little amount of water which is not harmful to these areas. It uses hot steam temperature over 350 degrees, which deeply cleans and removes dirt and grime. It kills 99.9% of germs and bacteria. With appropriate tools and accessories, you can do steam clean such areas. However, if you see any damage, contact professionals.

Benefits of Air Duct Cleaning

  1. Purifies and improves indoor air quality
  2. Healthy and lively environment
  3. Get rid of bad odor in the house
  4. Reduce allergens and skin problems
  5. Reduction in electricity bills
  6. Prevents and control birth of mold and mildew

Disadvantage of Cleaning Air Ducts Yourself

If you are not confident enough to do such technical job, then we may suggest you to call the professionals or experts. Owing to lack of knowledge or improper cleaning technique, you might damage any part of the system, which will cost you more than to adopt proper way.

There might be a chance of damaging air ducts if you do clean them by yourself. If you are not confident enough about yourself, then we strongly recommend getting experts assistance in this regard. So it is better to keep safe something valuable instead of losing everything. An expert team will not only do it professionally, but also tell you when to clean the duct next time.


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