How to clean ventilation ducts

August 21, 2020

Everyone wants cleaner, healthier air at home. Maintaining your heating and cooling equipment, including ventilation ducts, can be an important step to improve indoor air quality. But this isn’t a job for do-it-yourselfers. Here’s why it’s best to hire a professional for air duct cleaning, and how to know if the job is done right.

How to clean ventilation ducts

Photo Credit: TomaszZajda

What’s in my ventilation ducts?

Heating and cooling forced air systems naturally capture dust, allergens and other particles through their open registers and grilles. And that’s nothing to worry about. A well-functioning HVAC system will trap most of this material in the air filter. To keep your system working well, check your air filter and change it often (every 2-3 months or according to the manufacturer’s directions), using a high-quality filter.

How do you know if ventilation ducts need to be cleaned?

A visual inspection can tell you a lot about the condition of your air ducts. If you can see buildup of dust or dirt, it may be time for a cleaning. Your contractor will conduct a detailed visual inspection, sometimes using remote camera equipment, or opening access panels to get a better look.

If you, or your family members, are experiencing new allergies or unexplained illness, there may be an air quality issue in your home that could be resolved by cleaning your ventilation ducts. Call a heating and air conditioning contractor for an urgent cleaning if you have any of the following: visible mold growth, insect or rodent issues, or heavy dust buildup from a renovation project.

Can I clean air ducts myself?

Many homeowners vacuum their registers and the visible ductwork underneath regularly, which is a good habit. But this isn’t the same as professional duct cleaning, where a powerful commercial vacuum is used to extract debris. Without the right equipment, it’s possible to stir up the allergens and contaminants, creating more of a problem than if you had left the ducts alone.

What’s involved in cleaning ventilation ducts?

It’s important to ensure your service provider cleans all components of your heating and cooling system – not just the air ducts. When not well maintained, these components become contaminated over time with particles of dust, pollen and other debris. Your pro will have specialized tools to loosen dirt and debris, and a high-powered vacuum cleaner (with HEPA filter) to dispose of them.

Registers, grilles, blower fans and heat exchangers need to be cleaned to ensure your system is at peak efficiency. Evaporator coils inside the cooling system need cleared of excess moisture to avoid dust build-up and the collector pan and drain spout should be cleaned to prevent dirt from entering the system, or water accumulation that could cause mold to grow. During the cleaning process, your contractor will also inspect the duct system for leaks that can lower system efficiency and create air quality issues.

How to find a quality heating and air-conditioning contractor

It’s advisable to speak with at least three different service providers and compare their written estimates before making a selection. Expect to pay more for systems that are larger, hard to access or need more in-depth cleaning. Ensure the contractor is experienced and familiar with your type of system. Check references to ensure previous customers are satisfied with the work and give yourself peace of mind.

Need help with your search? Use the YP search engine to find a qualified heating and air condition contractor near you.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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