hvac duct cleaning

The Only HVAC Duct Cleaning Guide You’ll Ever Need

When it comes to maintaining your HVAC system, there are several things you should think about. Elements such as the filter, blower motor, and thermostat, need to be checked regularly to ensure everything is working. But, what about your air ducts? This has always been a controversial matter in the industry. That’s why below we will explain the basics of HVAC duct cleaning. 

Many companies will tell you that ductwork cleaning is part of the maintenance of your system since dust can accumulate. However, even when dirt can pile up in your air conditioner, this won’t happen at a detrimental level. Then, you might be wondering, is there any reason to perform HVAC duct cleaning?

Experts ensure that ductwork cleaning won’t bring any health benefits or reduce your respiratory symptoms. Instead, disturbing this part of your air conditioner can actually bring allergens and debris into your airflow. This could be more dangerous in case there is mold inside your home. What is even worse is that you can end up damaging your entire system. 

In this article, we will explain to you how to know when you need ductwork cleaning. Plus, we will offer a step-by-step guide to do this safely. 

When to perform HVAC duct cleaning

Duct systems come in different designs, some are located in the attic while others are underground. That’s why the first rule of ductwork cleaning is that you should only maintain the parts you can reach. If you want something more comprehensive, then you will need to call a technician.

Even when your ducts don’t need to be cleaned regularly, there are certain occasions on which you should do it. If there is mold growing in your system, in case there are rodents or insects inside your home, and if your ducts are filled with dust. This is usually the case if you notice visible mildew or hearing noises coming from your vents. But, before jumping to any conclusions, check the whole unit. 

Plus, you need to ensure that there is no other issue with your HVAC system. For instance, if you don’t have constant airflow in all the rooms, the problem could be the filter. However, if you confirm there are rodents or mold in your ducts, you need to hire a professional. If you try to clean it yourself, it can be dangerous.

Cost of cleaning your ducts

In case you need a professional to remove mold from your ducts, the cost of the complete process can be anywhere between $600 and $2000. But, you also need to add this to the basic cleaning fees, which could go as high as $1000. We know this sounds expensive, but it is necessary since the experts will have to use special equipment and professionals to eliminate your problem. 

In case the actual issue with your ducts is some dust and debris, you won’t have to spend all this money. Instead, you can learn how to do it. Keep in mind that this would be superficial maintenance since you don’t have all the tools that an expert team has access to.

DIY ductwork cleaning

To perform a DIY ductwork cleaning, the first thing you need to do is purchase all the elements. Here is where you cannot cut corners since the tools will ensure you are safe throughout the process. Once you have everything, we will tell you how to identify your vents. Now let’s take a look at the list of things you need to get

1. Tools for DIY ductwork cleaning

Chances are some tools in this list are already in your home, which means you won’t have to spend a lot of money. 

  • Filter

In the same way, there are different types of HVAC systems, you can also find unique filters to tackle specific issues. Usually, the technician who installs your filter will tell you how to change it and which one you need to purchase. Remember that some filters are washable.

  • Cloth and towels

For your HVAC duct cleaning, it is better to get a microfiber cloth. Further, if you need to cleanse everything once you are done, some paper towels will come in handy.

  • Protection

This protection equipment is necessary to make sure you are safe while cleaning the ducts. Purchase a pair of heavy-duty gloves, goggles, and a dust mask. Remember to use these elements at all times. 

  • Vacuum

A household vacuum won’t have enough power to clean your ducts. That means you will have to rent one that has a long hose. 

  • Power Drill

You will use it to remove the screws from the vents and access your ducts. 

2. Identify the vents

In a house, there are two types of vents. The returning vent is the one that brings the airflow to the HVAC system. Then, the filtered warm or cool air goes into your home thanks to the supply vents. To identify them, you need to perform a tissue test. The only thing you need to do is place a tissue close to the vent. If it sticks, it is a returning vent, otherwise; it is a supply vent.

Step-by-step guide for ductwork cleaning

  1. Remove all the air duct covers using your power drill. Take some paper towels to cover your supply vents. That way, the dust and dirt won’t blow into your home while you clean. To do this, place the paper towel between the vent cover and the wall. Don’t worry, you won’t have to put the screws back on. 

  2. To move the dust inside the vents, go to your thermostat and turn it into the “fan on” position. Keep in mind that the heat and cooling options should be off.

  3. You need to loosen any dust buildup in your ducts. What you should do is start tapping on the places where you can access the ductwork. 

  4. Now, it is time to clean your supply registers. Take your vacuum and with the hose, catch all the dust that the fan is pushing out. Then, take the microfiber cloth and wipe the interior of the ducts. You will have to repeat this process several times. 

  5. Clean the return registers following the same steps that we explained above.

  6. Turn off the entire system to clean all the dust from the blower compartment.

  7. Replace the HVAC filter and turn the furnace back on. 
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