Cleaning the air ducts brings a dramatic change in the quality of air inside your home. More and more American households are now coming around to accepting its importance. At the same time, many homeowners wonder whether it is something they can do on their own or require professional duct cleaning services. Today, we will address all your concerns about DIY duct cleaning, how to actually do it, what to expect, and whether you really need the professionals for it.
Why Clean The Ducts?
Air ducts force air into your rooms. When the ducts are dirty, the air passing through them picks up all the unwanted elements as well and pushes them into your living environment. Keeping the ducts clean ensures that the air blowing through them is also clean and healthy.
Before You Begin – What To Expect
It’s good to know a few things before you decide to clean the air ducts on your own.
1. It Isn’t Easy, And There’s No Short Cut – If you were thinking its a few minutes job, you were wrong. It takes time and patience. If you are not used to doing such jobs, it may even prove to be difficult.
2. You Can Find Anything And Everything In The Ducts – From mold and mildew to dead critters and their homes, you can find anything in the ducts. If you are squeamish or faint of heart, it’s not something you can accomplish by yourself.
3. You, Will, Have Cleaner Ducts – At the end of the day, your ducts will be cleaner than what they would have been without you cleaning them. How much cleaner depends on your efforts and how far you were able to clean.
4. Ducts Not As Clean As Professional Can Achieve – Since you will be using regular household equipment, the ducts will be clean but not as much as a professional cleaner can achieve. Professional duct cleaning companies have access to high-powered vacuum cleaners, and so they are able to do a better job.
DIY Duct Cleaning
Tools That You Will Need
Let’s begin with the list of tools that will need to do a thorough duct cleaning job.
1. Dust mask, heavy-duty gloves, and goggles.
2. Screwdriver to expose the ducts.
3. A vacuum cleaner with a long hose.
4. Rags and paper towels.
5. A brush having a long handle and stiff bristles and a broom.
DIY Duct Cleaning Guide
Step 1 – Begin by turning off the power supply to the HVAC unit.
Step 2 – Using the long handle brush or broom sweep out the supply air registers and the return air registers.
Step 3 – Unscrew the air duct covers to expose the ducts for cleaning.
Step 4 – Using a brush, clean the grates, and wipe them clean with a wet rag.
Step 5 – Using a vacuum cleaner, suck out all the dust and grime. Insert the hose as far as it goes into the ducts for maximizing the clean area. The longer the hose, the farther it will reach into the ducts.
Step 6 – Remove the panels on the front of the furnace to expose the blower compartment. Using the vacuum cleaner clean it out and brush the fan to loosen the dirt. Wipe the fan clean and replace the panels.
Step 7 – Clean the grilles and registers before screwing them back on and closing the open end of the ducts.
Step 8 – After the cleanup, replace the air filter so that the air flows freely without any restrictions.
Sounds simple? Well, it really isn’t so. It is a time-consuming job and involves constant brushing and wiping in addition to vacuuming. There is dust flying around you, so an area you just cleaned may land up getting dirty all over again. If your grilles have been closed for a really long time, as soon as you open them, particle matter may fall. All in all, it’s a dirty job, and you should be prepared to handle it all.
DIY Duct Cleaning Risks
1. Cleaning Leaves Much To Be Desired – DIY cleaning is seldom up to scratch. It happens because of a lack of proper equipment. Usually, homeowners don’t have access to high-powered vacuum cleaners with very long hoses. The result is that a regular vacuum cleaner is unable to completely suction out the dust and debris in the ductwork due to a lack of power and reach.
2. Damage To Ducts – There is always a risk of tearing the ducts involved. In your enthusiasm, you may forget to be gentle with the ductwork while cleaning it. Any tear in the ductwork means a reduction in airflow and added headache as it reduces the cooling and heating efficiency of your HVAC system.
DIY Duct Cleaning Vs. Professional Duct Cleaning
DIY duct cleaning will surely save you a few dollars and reduces your dependency on others. You can do it whenever you want and don’t have to wait for an appointment. Having said that, if you want a thorough cleaning of the ductwork, you will need professional help. The professional duct cleaners have not just the appropriate equipment to clean but also the skill to do a full and in-depth cleaning. The work accomplished by them will be far superior to what you can do yourself. Furthermore, the professionals have the knowledge to look for leaks in the ducts and seal them. They can recognize the different types of mold and get rid of them effectively.
Clearly, professional duct cleaning is always a better option. In the interim, you can adopt a DIY duct cleaning routine to tide you over when you feel that the ducts have become dirty far quicker than you anticipated. Depending wholly and solely on DIY cleaning is not appropriate. Since your ultimate aim is to breathe in clean air, it is best to get the ducts professionally cleaned at least once a year. Get quotes from a couple of AC service companies that specialize in this work and check their reviews. If all sounds good, you can sit back and let someone else take care of all the dirty work.