Cleaning air ducts can be a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be. With the right tools and a few simple steps, you can easily learn how to clean air ducts yourself. This guide will walk you through the process of removing the ventilation covers, cleaning the supply grilles, and vacuuming the ducts. It will also provide tips on how to prevent dust and dirt from entering your home while cleaning, as well as advice on when to call in a professional for a more thorough job.
To start off, you'll need to remove the ventilation covers with a screwdriver. Cover the ventilation openings with paper towels to stop dust and dirt from entering your home. Next, set the thermostat to the FAN ON position and clean the supply grilles with warm water, mild detergent, and a soft brush in the kitchen sink. If the return vent is too large to fit in the sink, wash it outside with a hose, brush, and detergent.
Allow all of the racks to air dry against the wall. When it comes to vacuuming the ducts, you'll need a long hose connector and a household vacuum. Some vacuums come with brushes that are perfect for scrubbing between the grilles of the ventilation grilles. If you don't have one of these, you can use a new toilet brush or a hard one to remove dust. Before you start vacuuming, make sure you turn off the electricity at the thermostat. Leave the fan on for the first part; this will help dislodge and move dust.
Cover any supply ducts that you are not cleaning to prevent dust and dirt from entering your home through another ventilation grill. When it comes to visible vents and grilles, there are a few steps to cleaning air ducts by yourself. Start by cleaning these before getting close to the boiler. If you don't clean your air ducts regularly, most of this dirt won't escape your house and will remain in constant circulation throughout your home. Learning how to clean air ducts by vacuuming accessible areas when changing your air conditioning filter is quick and easy. This modified version of professional duct cleaning removes residues from most ducts but does not cover the entire system. For more thorough cleaning, you may need specialized tools such as a very powerful vacuum or an industrial vacuum cleaner.
Determining how often you should clean your ducts depends on whether you're doing renovation work, if you have important allergens from pets in your home, or if you're concerned about mold and pest problems. The best way to completely clean air ducts is with professional duct cleaners who use portable negative air machines mounted on trucks or large negative air machines that can create a powerful vacuum throughout your duct system. Go in there with your vacuum cleaner and collect as much dust and dirt as possible, placing the tube attachment as far down the air duct as possible. Whether you decide to clean your air ducts or not, it's important to commit to a good preventive maintenance program to minimize duct contamination. Talk to an HVAC professional about whether it's worth learning how to clean air ducts yourself. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), duct cleaning has never been proven to actually prevent health problems.