If you’ve started to notice dust gathering quickly on your furniture, or have lost an item or two down a floor register, you may find that cleaning out your air ducts is an impending necessity. Fortunately, air duct cleaning isn’t that difficult with the right tools, and can quickly become a regular DIY chore. Not only is it easy, but you can also save yourself a good chunk of cash by not having to hire a professional. Check out our step-by-step process below on how to clean air ducts.
- Cleaning brush
- Heavy-duty vacuum
- Furnace filter
How to Clean Air Ducts
- Start by turning off all the power connected to your air conditioning and heating system. You don’t want it to suddenly turn on while you’re cleaning.
- Using clean rags or paper towels, cover the supply registers (the openings that supply heated air into each room). Doing this will prevent any dislodged dust from drifting into the rooms as you work, doubling your workload.
- Unscrew the covers or grilles on your air ducts from the walls. Take your cleaning brush to brush out the grates thoroughly. These are a big spot where dust can build up and is generally the most noticeable spot for it to collect. If there is any grimy or oily residue you may want to use a bit of warm water and dish soap to really clean them off.
- Knock loose any old buildup of dust in your ducts by using the handle of the brush and tapping on every accessible part of the duct. This will help dislodge dampened dust from the ducts.
- Using one of the hose attachments on your vacuum, vacuum out the duct as best you can. The attachment will allow you to get to those hard-to-reach places as you are working through this DIY duct cleaning process. If you don’t have a heavy-duty vacuum, consider renting a shop-vac for this project. Your average household vacuum may not be powerful enough to get deep into the crevices of your air ducts. Since mold and mildew can also build up in your ducts, make sure that if you do rent a vacuum that the hose is long enough for you to reach deep into the ducts.
- Next on your DIY air duct cleaning list is to clean the grilles in your ceiling. Since these are above you, it may be wise to wear some protective eyewear and a handkerchief to avoid inhaling any dust or having it get into your eyes. Using a ladder, climb up with your brush to wipe out the outside of your grilles. Then remove them with the screwdriver and vacuum them out just as you did the ones in the wall. If you don’t have a ladder, grab a broom and use that to dust away the build-up.
- If your heating system is powered through a furnace, you will want to clean out the return air boot and blower compartment. This step is important in our how to clean air ducts process as the ducts alone aren’t the only part of your heating system to get dust buildup. To clean these, remove the panels from the front of the furnace to access the blower compartment and return air boot. Use your vacuum to sweep away any dust that has built up in them.
- Clean off your furnace fan while you have the panels off the front of the furnace.
- As one of the final steps in how to clean air ducts, you will want to replace your furnace filter. A clean, new filter can help cut down on the amount of dust that blows into your home. Better filters will need to be changed often, but they also extend your blower motor’s lifespan since it won’t have to run hotter to get air to the fan through a clogged filter. To know how often you need to change the filter, you will need to take into account your home’s situation. This includes whether you have pets and the region you live in.
Knowing how to clean air ducts is a very useful tool for homeowners. Doing so can ensure the air in your home is clean, preventing allergies or asthma attacks. It can also help you save money on air conditioning and heating, plus knowing how to do it yourself can help you save a few bucks. However, if you are moving into an older home or have an exceptionally large issue with dust, you may need a bit of professional help in the beginning. After one good clean though, it will be easier to stay up on yearly, bi-annual, or even quarterly cleans.