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A DIY duct cleaning guide | How to clean air ducts yourself

DIY duct cleaning
Table of contents

If you are looking to clean your home’s air ducts yourself, this DIY duct cleaning guide is the right option for you. Of course, we generally recommend that you get the help of experts and professionals for this task; they can check whether your air vents need cleaning or not. In general, some people tend to undertake the process of cleaning the air vents themselves. If you are one of these people or are concerned about the cost of cleaning air vents, follow the DIY duct cleaning steps and recommendations below carefully.

What do ducts do?

Home ductwork is a system of pipes that runs throughout the home to transport conditioned air from the HVAC system. Also, sometimes ducts for absorbing outside air and transferring air from inside to outside are used as exhaust. Ducts are usually round and made of fiberglass, flexible plastic or metal. They pass through the walls and ceilings of the house, so the only places where ductwork is likely to be seen are exposed areas such as attics, basements, and any ducts that lead outside the home. In older homes, the metal ducts could be wrapped in asbestos, these channels should not be cleaned because it may cause the asbestos to become airborne and enter the home.

If your home was built before 1979 and your plumbing hasn’t been replaced, you should have a professional inspect the ductwork for asbestos.

What ducts do?

  • There are two types of channels: return and supply

Return ducts, remove air from the room, and return it to the HVAC system. Supply ducts carry conditioned air from the HVAC system to the room.

In the first step, you should find the duct of the supply channel and start cleaning it. There is an easy way to find the supply duct: place a tissue over the valve; if the tissue sticks, it is the return duct. Otherwise, it is the supply duct.

When is duct cleaning necessary?

Dirt, dust, and other types of debris can collect inside your home’s ducts and reduce indoor air quality. The problem is not that dust is circulating in your air, but the problem is that too much debris in the duct is interfering with airflow and the efficiency of the HVAC system. Dirty air ducts force the heating and cooling system to work harder, use more energy, and be less efficient. So you might think that it makes perfect sense to clean your home’s air ducts regularly, but it’s not.

When is duct cleaning necessary?

We recommend that you do not need to clean the air ducts yourself if the following conditions exist:

  • The ductwork is properly sealed
  • Often, the filters are changed according to the manufacturer’s recommendations
  • Floor registers should be vacuumed once every six months to prevent dust accumulation.

In general, duct cleaning is necessary under the following conditions:

  • There is noticeable deterioration of sealants and tape adhered to ductwork and/or those that weren’t properly sealed in the first place
  • Renovation of the house that has created significant dust or needs to add or replace ductwork
  • There are extensive damage from pests and animal nests
  • Substantial mold growth is present
  • Recommended maintenance is not performed.

Equipment needed for DIY duct cleaning

If you feel that your home needs air duct cleaning, you will need the following equipment:

  1. High-powered vacuum; Your standard household vacuum isn’t powerful enough to suck up and contain debris from ductwork
  2. Heavy gloves, gas mask, or goggles
  3. New furnace filter
  4. Stiff brush for scraping debris
  5. Clean microfiber cloth
  6. Electric drill or screwdriver to remove screws from valves
  7. Toilet paper

Equipment needed for DIY duct cleaning

How to clean air ducts yourself: A step-by-step DIY duct cleaning guide

  1. Remove the screws from the air duct covers, air vents, and return air grill plates.
  2. Cover supply vents with paper towels and cover other vents not currently being cleaned. Lift the supply valve and place a paper towel between the vent cap and the wall or floor. No need to re-screw the caps.
  3. Set the thermostat to fan on and heat and cold mode to off. If your thermostat has a fan setting, turn on the heat.
  4. Use a brush to remove dust from the duct.
  5. Lift the register and insert the vacuum hose into the plumbing as far as it will go. Turn on the vacuum cleaner to pick up as much dust as possible as the fan passes through the duct.
  6. Regarding the way to clean the AC vents, after the vacuuming process is over, use your brush to clean the dust in the register.
  7. Reach down inside the duct as far as you can with the microfiber cloth and wipe it inside. Wash the fabric frequently if needed.
  8. Remove the paper towel and throw it away.
  9. Clean the return registers with your brush.
  10. Turn off the fan and then turn off the furnace through the service switch or breaker panel.
  11. Access the blower compartment and the return air boot by removing the panels on the furnace’s front. Dust that has accumulated in the furnace fan, return air boot, and blower compartment should be swept up using your vacuum.
  12. Replace your furnace air filter; if your filter is clogged with dust, you won’t get the full benefits of clean ducts.

How to clean air ducts yourself: a Step-by-Step DIY duct cleaning guide

Why you maybe shouldn’t clean ducts yourself?

Improper cleaning of ducts can lead to more problems than the main issue of dirty ducts, especially it should be kept in mind that certain types of ducts are prone to various damages in case of improper cleaning. The older the channels are, the more likely they are to be damaged. This is why many experts advise against cleaning your home’s air ducts yourself.

Professional duct cleaning Calgary is done with the help of special devices. During a duct cleaning service, dirt and debris are removed, and steps are taken to ensure that all dust and dirt particles are removed.

Read more: Get air duct cleaning tips

Why you maybe shouldn’t clean ducts yourself?

When to Call a Professional?

The complete cleaning of the air ducts is best done by swift Maids experts and with special machines, they can easily clean the entire air duct system with the help of their tools. With the help of the special machines they have, they can remove waste in far-ranging areas of the canal system, as well as in inaccessible corners and parts. Large items such as dead animals and building materials that cannot be cleaned by yourself can be disposed of by a professional. Remember that taking care of your home’s air ducts with the help of duct cleaning Calgary service can help prevent the need for system replacement.

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