Does your home have an HVAC system? Then it’s important to perform regular duct cleaning to ensure the air flow into your home is as clean as possible. The system’s vents will get dusty over time, since dust particles are naturally drawn into the duct along with the air. By cleaning them thoroughly, you can reduce the amount of unwanted particulate in your household’s airflow. In addition, by keeping your air ducts clean, your HVAC system will be more energy-efficient, which will prevent your energy bills from rising.
How to clean your air ducts yourself
Fortunately, you can do routine duct cleaning yourself. You’ll need a Phillips screwdriver; household cleaner; a cloth; warm, soapy water (optional); microfiber cleaning cloths; and a vacuum cleaner (preferably one with a HEPA filter) with a dust brush. You’ll also need protective eyeglasses, a face mask, and sturdy rubber gloves.
- Turn off your HVAC system. Before starting, turn off your HVAC system. The last thing you want is for air to be blowing onto you while you’re trying to remove dust and debris from the vent.
- Remove the vent cover. Wall vent covers need to be unscrewed. Do this carefully to avoid damaging the wall. Some floor vents can simply be lifted up, while others also need to be unscrewed.
- Clean the vent cover. There’s likely dust caught in the vent cover; plus, it will feel greasy to the touch. You can clean it with a regular household cleaner and a cloth, or you can wash it in warm water and dish detergent. Always make sure to dry it carefully.
- If you have vent register filters, clean them. Some vents have filters installed to catch pet hairs or other things. If your vents have filters, remove the debris that’s built up, and clean them.
- Vacuum the inside of the vent. Attach the dust brush to the vacuum cleaner and reach as far as you can inside the vent. Vacuum up all visible dust and debris.
- Wipe the inside of the vent. Using a microfiber cleaning cloth and the household cleaner, wipe the inside of the vent as far as you can reach.
- Re-attach the vent cover. Carefully replace the vent cover. If it’s attached with screws, make sure they’re firmly screwed in place.
- Clean your HVAC system’s filter. To get the best performance from your HVAC and ensure the best indoor air quality, clean or replace your HVAC’s filter when you’ve finished cleaning your vents.
Note that if you find any signs of mold infestations, pests, or damage to the inside of the ducts, you’re best advised to call your HVAC expert right away as these are issues you shouldn’t address yourself.
Why you should still schedule professional duct cleaning
Keep in mind that it’s always a good idea to schedule professional duct cleaning and maintenance at least once a year. That way, your HVAC specialist can remove all dust and debris you might not be able to reach and at the same time, repair any damage that might be causing air leaks. And in the long run, whatever time, effort, and money you spend on duct cleaning is an investment in better indoor air quality—and that’s better for your and your family’s health.