If your house has recently undergone construction or renovation, it’s a good idea to have the ducts cleaned. Construction dust contains particulate matter that can be harmful to respiratory systems.
Protective gear, like a mask and eye protection, is essential for this task. You’ll also want to have a screwdriver, paper towels (which you can use to cover supply registers) and a lint-free cleaning cloth slightly dampened.
1. Remove the Vent Covers
As time goes by, lint and hair can get stuck in your vents and stop air from flowing as easily. This is why it’s important to keep your air vents clean. Regularly removing the vent covers and vacuuming them will help prevent this buildup, ensuring that you’re getting the most efficient airflow from your home.
Before you start cleaning your vents, make sure that you’ve turned off the air conditioner and covered any furniture below ceiling vents with a sheet. Once you’re ready to begin, it’s best to run the fan on your thermostat in the “FAN ON” mode. This will help loosen any dust that’s been collecting on the inside of your vents and on the walls and ceiling around them.
Depending on where your vents are located, the cover may just lift right up and down into place. However, if they are located on the wall or in the ceiling, you’ll have to unscrew them. Be careful not to use too much force, as it’s easy to strip the screw. Also, be sure to match the screw shape with the right screwdriver type.
Once the vent cover is removed, you can wipe it down with a mild soap and water. It’s also a good idea to soak the vent in water and basic household cleaner once or twice a year. This is especially helpful if the cover has a lot of rust or built up paint. After soaking, be sure to rinse the vent thoroughly and let it dry completely before re-installing it. You can even re-paint your vent covers to make them look new again!
2. Grab Your Long Scrub Brush
During air duct cleaning, professionals use brushes and vacuums to loosen the dirt and dust stuck inside. They also inspect the ductwork to see how much cleaning is required. They may also use mirrors, cameras, and other tools to observe and record the progress of their work. They may also use chemicals and sanitizers to kill any mold spores found inside the ducts.
Attempting to clean an airduct by yourself can be hazardous, especially if you are not familiar with the equipment needed. It requires a high-powered vacuum and rotary brush that most homeowners do not have at home. In addition, it involves climbing up a ladder to unscrew the air duct grates. If not properly done, this process can lead to the damage of the HVAC system. In addition, it may be difficult for non-professionals to get rid of all the accumulated dirt and dust.
Basic or regular brushes have nylon bristles that can eradicate minute dust components. These brushes are best suited for narrow ducts and small areas. However, it is important to use the right size brushes for accurate results. The brush should be at least five percent smaller than the duct to ensure proper rotation.
Cleaning air ducts can help improve indoor air quality, reduce allergies and asthma symptoms, and increase energy efficiency. It is recommended that you have your air ducts cleaned every 3-5 years, or more frequently if you have pets or children with respiratory illnesses. The process is quick, cost-effective and safe when conducted by a qualified professional. The positive health effects of air duct cleaning are well worth the cost. It is also a great idea to clean your air ducts after painting, remodeling, or construction projects.
3. Grab Your Vacuum
When dirt and dust build up in your air ducts, it can cause many problems including poor indoor air quality, allergies, respiratory issues, and even headaches. When mold is present, it can further exacerbate these problems. One of the best ways to remove these contaminants is by having your ducts professionally cleaned and vacuumed. This will clear out the mold and make your house healthy again.
If you do decide to hire a professional, it is important to check their credentials and references. Also, make sure they follow all state and national regulations for air duct cleaning. You should also avoid companies that advertise a “chemical treatment.” This is unnecessary and often not effective in eliminating mold or bacteria.
After the ducts have been cleaned, it is important to wipe them down with a clean cloth to get rid of any remaining dust and debris. You can also use a dry brush to scrub if needed. Be sure to get all the hard to reach spots like under the vent covers and in the corners of the ducts. You can also use an empty cardboard tube taped to your vacuum’s crevice tool as an extension to reach hard-to-reach areas.
Once the ducts have been thoroughly cleaned, it is time to put everything back together. Be sure to cover all the supply registers (also called grates) with a rag before you unscrew them so that the dust doesn’t get pushed back into your home. Once the ducts have been cleaned, you can turn on your furnace and switch to the fan. You may need to run it for 30 minutes or so to filter out any leftover dust from the ducts.
4. Clean Along the Vent Walls
Once the vent covers are removed, use your scrub brush to loosen any dust that has settled on the vent walls. This will help make it easier to vacuum. Also, if you have one, a long stem brush helps to reach those hard to get places.
If your house smells musty or stale, you may need to clean your ducts more than just once a year. This could indicate that there is a mold problem in your air ducts, and if left unchecked it may spread throughout the entire home. In this case, you would probably be better off calling in a professional to see if they can help.
Before you hire anyone to clean your air ducts, however, you should consult your doctor. Some medical conditions, such as asthma and allergies, can be aggravated by air pollution and cleaning the air ducts may actually worsen these symptoms.
Cleaning your ducts isn’t that difficult to do on your own, and it can be done in less than an hour. The most important thing is to make sure that you have all the proper equipment and tools before starting. This includes a vacuum cleaner with a hose, a long stick-like brush for reaching those high up corners and crevices, and a broom or mop to sweep up any dirt that falls off of the vent and onto the floor or carpet.
Also, be sure to remove the screws on your vent covers and cover any vents that you’re not working on with paper towels. This will prevent rogue dust from flying into the rest of your house. Once the cleaning is done, return the vent covers to their correct location and be sure to replace the duct covers.
5. Clean Up
Now that the dust and dirt has been loosened it’s time to vacuum. A good home vacuum with a long extension hose is the best choice. Be sure to vacuum every part of the vent walls as well as the nooks and crannies. This is where much of the dust ends up and it can cause respiratory problems in the future.
Before removing the vent covers, wash them in a sink of warm soapy water to clean and scrub any dirt or mold that may be stuck to them. If there is a lot of dirt or mold you can also use a scrub brush to loosen and clean it. Afterwards, the covers should be washed in hot soapy water or put in the dishwasher. Then, remove the supply registers one at a time and bring them to a sink to be washed (these are located on the floor or wall). You will need to have a screwdriver for wall and ceiling registers.
Finally, you can vacuum the return vents with a hose attachment to make sure you get all of the dust that is hiding behind it. Once all of the dust is vaccumed it’s time to wipe down the drywall and other surfaces around the vents with clean cloths. Be sure to check behind the return vents as well, they may have old filters that need to be replaced.
If you notice that your ducts are dirty or that you have any respiratory complications, consult with a doctor to find out if air duct cleaning is a good idea for your family. Duct cleaning can help with certain situations, but in other cases it can actually worsen respiratory complications because of a different issue.