Improve Your Indoor Air Quality
Your home’s indoor air quality is an essential part of being comfortable and healthy in your home. Read these simple ways you can help the air quality today by cleaning your ductwork today.
Improve Your Indoor Air Quality with Duct Cleaning
Cleaning your air ducts will go a long way toward improving the quality of the air in your home. Over time, dust, mold, rodents, and other pollutants can accumulate in your ducts and begin to lower the quality of air in your home.
According to the EPA, the air quality in most homes is lower than the outdoor air – even in the most industrialized cities.
While it’s impossible to avoid any pollutants in your indoor air, cleaning your air ducts is a great way to minimize the harmful contaminants in your home.
In this guide, we’re going to walk you through a simple DIY air duct cleaning. Of course, you should only attempt this if you can access your ducts safely. If your ductwork is difficult to reach, call your HVAC contractor instead. They can perform a professional duct cleaning for you.
Preparing to Clean Air Ducts
If there is any furniture underneath the vent, move it out of the way. Cover it up, so you do not have another thing to clean. If the vent is located high up on the wall, make sure that you have a stable ladder, stepping stool or something stable, like a chair, that you can use to reach the vent.
Now you need to cover the supply register with a paper towel. The supply register is an opening that releases warm air into your room. Lift the register, wrap it in a paper towel, and put it back. You do this so that excess dust is not released into the room while you clean the air duct.
Before you start cleaning and brushing, turn on the fan. You want the dirt to move along, and do not want everyone in the house to breathe in the dust that is released. Turn on the thermostat to “fan mode” only; you do not need to activate the heat/cooling mode.
Make sure the filter does not need to be replaced. Once you ensure that it is okay, put it back in place. Otherwise, the fan motor is going to suck all of the dust that you clean out which will create another problem.
At this point, you need to loosen dampened refuse deposits that may be stuck in the air duct. Take your brush and with its handle knock on any accessible air ductwork.
Do It Yourself – How To Clean Air Ducts
Remember the supply registers that you covered with paper towels? Now is the time to clean them thoroughly. Before you lift them, put a running vacuum cleaner hose right next to the register. Once you lift the supply register, catch any dust that is being pushed out with vacuum cleaner hose.
Next, clean the duct itself as far as your hose can reach. Once you are done, brush loose any built up dust in the register. By the way, now you can dispose of the paper towels. Move to the next room and repeat the process.
Return air registers – unscrew them and sweep them out. Brush and sweep up as far back into the cavity as you can.
Switch off the fan and furnace. Head over to your thermostat and turn off the fan. Now go over to your service switch or breaker panel and shut down the power to the furnace.
Now that you have turned the power off, you can access the blower compartment and the air boot beneath the panels on the front of the heater. Use your vacuum cleaner to collect the dust built up in the return air boot and blower compartment. You can also clean the furnace fan at this stage.
It is a good idea to replace the furnace filter. If you do not do it, it will get blocked by the dust. As a result, dust will restrict the airflow to the fan. Restricted air will cause the blower motor to exert extra energy and put more wear on your system.
At this point, you’ve done the bulk of the work. Remaining areas of your ductwork that you could not reach with the steps above are unlikely to contain much dust. However, if you insist, there are a few more things you can do.
If you have rectangular ductwork, you can slide the drives (the long vertical pieces of metal on your ductwork) down off the duct. The drives are folded over on top and bottom of the tube. They are keeping it in place. With a pair of pliers, you can straighten it. Now pull the drives off the duct. Next, pull the caps out of the slips. Unless the duct is against the wall, by removing the caps, you should be able to reach inside of the ductwork. Vacuum any dust you can find.
Finally, several registers are distributing air to the basement (if you have one). Removing them will grant you further access to the ductwork.
At this point, you have done everything you can to clean air ducts. However, if you are not confident about the result, it is okay to call a professional air duct cleaning company. Duct cleaning is affordable, usually takes only a few hours, and goes a long way toward improving the air in your home.