When you stop to think about how much dust and grime can build up over time on the surfaces we can see, it’s easy to imagine what the inside of the vents and air ducts in your HVAC system must look like after a while.
Can I Clean My Own Ductwork?
Yes, you can clean your own ductwork. At On Time Home Services, we recommend scheduling regular air duct cleaning services from a professional HVAC technician to keep your system in the best possible shape, but in between professional maintenance visits you can clean them yourself. Here are some tips for how to clean your air ducts yourself in between professional services.
Tools You'll Need to Clean Your Vents & Air Ducts
In order to effectively clean all of the components in your air ducts, you will need some specific tools:
- Protective Gear – Protect your eyes, nose, and lungs from dust by wearing eye protection and a dust mask.
- Vacuum – Make sure it has a hose and nozzle attachment to reach further inside your ducts.
- Brush – A toilet brush or large paintbrush will work.
- Screwdriver – You will need this to remove the vents covering your ductwork.
- Paper Towels – You will use these to wipe down escaping dust and cover other supply registers while you clean.
- Lint-Free Cleaning Cloth – When slightly dampened, this will be helpful in cleaning up any extra dust clinging to the sides of your vents.
- Air Filter – After you are finished, it’s a great idea to go ahead and replace your air filter with a new one.
How to Clean Air Ducts Yourself Step-By-Step
Cleaning your AC ducts yourself isn't too difficult when you follow these steps:
- Remove vent covers and wash them. Remove your vent covers with your screwdriver. You can place them in the dishwasher to clean them, or simply rinse them off by hand. Set them aside to dry.
- Cover vent openings with paper towels. Cover the openings to your supply registers with a few paper towels. This prevents dust from blowing out of them and landing on you walls and floor while you are cleaning ducts in other parts of the HVAC system. You will remove the covers to do your cleaning, but it’s a good idea to replace them after you are finished each time.
- Set your thermostat to the "FAN ON" position. Ensure that both "COOL" and "HEAT" modes are turned off so that only the fan runs. The fan will help loosen any dust in the duct and make it easier for you to clean it.
- Loosen the dust. Use the handle of your brush to tap around the sides of the ductwork and knock the dust attached to the walls loose.
- Vacuum it up. Use the nozzle and brush attachments on your vacuum hose to suck away all of the dirt within your reach. If there is still dust left stuck to the walls afterward, use a lightly damp lint-free cloth (such as a microfiber cloth) and wipe them down. Repeat for every opening to your ductwork.
- Change your air filter. Now that you have successfully removed some of the dust from your ducts, keep your indoor air even cleaner by replacing your air filter with a new one.
- Replace vent covers. After you have washed all of your vent covers, make sure to replace them.
- Reset your thermostat setting. Turn off the fan and turn either the COOL or HEAT setting back on.
If you repeat this process in the months between scheduled air duct cleaning services, you can improve the cleanliness of your home and your indoor air quality.
How Often Does Ductwork Need to Be Cleaned?
We recommend annual professional maintenance supplemented by periodic DIY duct cleaning. Usually, duct cleaning appointments are scheduled at the beginning of spring or fall. If you can't remember the last time you had your ducts cleaned by a professional, or if you've never had this service before, give us a call!
Need Help? Book an Appointment!
Even if you are cleaning your air ducts yourself, it's still recommended that you hire an AC technician to professionally clean the ducts in your home at least once a year. With over 15 years of industry experience, On Time Home Service knows the right way to ensure that your AC unit provides cold, clean air for every room in your home.