How to Clean Your Air Ducts
Can you clean your own air ducts? The answer is yes! But, for the DIY’S there is some information you will need to know. There are several methods used to clean air ducts. Most of these methods require special equipment and training! So, there is only so much the DIY’S can do to clean their air ducts. It’s more of a partial clean! Also, some air duct cleaning companies will use Biocides or Ozone to rid your ducts of contaminants. Biocides are chemicals that are used to rid your air ducts from bacteria and mold.
Ozone is a gas that is used to kill biological contaminants. Chemical biocides are regulated by the EPA under the Federal Pesticide Law we click4pdf. Any chemical can be dangerous, so do your research or hire a professional! Using chemicals without proper training is not recommended. Also, before cleaning your air ducts it’s important to know what type of ducts your home or business has installed.
The most common type is flexible ducts and are typically insulated to conserve energy, reduce condensation and temperature control. Most metal duct work is used for industrial purposes and is typically more expensive. Air duct cleaning is much easier on metal air ducts than flexible ducts. Also, the insulation in flexible duct work is more likely to re-soil with dust and mold. You will need to clean more often. If you choose to clean air ducts yourself here are some tips.
1. Air ducts cannot be cleaned without tools! So, you will need a ladder, screwdriver (look at duct vents to determine), flashlight, wet/dry vacuum with long hose and soft bristle attachment. Also, you need to wear rubber gloves and face mask (respirator) for safety. You do not want to breathe the contaminants from your air ducts. Once you have the proper cleaning equipment then you must examine the ducts for contamination. First, run your finger along the inside of the ducts. If you see dust on your finger then your ducts are dirty. So, proper tools, training and contamination severity are the first thing you need to determine. Once this is complete you can move forward to the cleaning process.
2. First, remove the vent covers from the walls or ceilings. Be careful not to damage the vents or duct work when removing. If there is paint build-up on the vents you can use a putty knife (run around edges of vent) to remove without damage. Next, you need to set-up your vacuum system for cleaning. Most wet/dry vacuums come with several attachments. You want to use the long hose (attach directly to vacuum) and the hard plastic tube (attach to hose) with soft bristle brush to clean your vents.
Turn “on” the vacuum and begin the cleaning process. When cleaning the ducts make sure to clean with ease…..do not clean with force! Use just enough power to break the dust or mold away from the walls of the duct work. Use whatever cleaning pattern works best for you. Be sure to clean all the cracks and crevices (hard to reach places) so you can achieve the best results. You are only going to clean up into the vent so far with the length of hose. So, when there is no more hose to clean with you have gone as far into the duct work as your going to go. This process may take some time!
If you are going to use anti-bacterial solutions to disinfect (spray after the cleaning). Be sure to read the bottle for mixing instructions and “How to Use” on the label. After the ducts are cleaned then you need to clean the vents. A good cleaning solution is bleach and water. You can use the “Rubber Stopper” in your kitchen sink (fill up sink to half) and then add 3 caps of bleach. Use warm or hot water. Let the vents soak for about an hour. Once the vents have soaked to remove debris then dry off and reinstall. Make sure the vents seal correctly around the edges. Next, you need to clean the wet/dry vacuum. Do not use the vacuum again until it’s been cleaned!
Read your owner’s manual for cleaning instructions. Also, you need to replace the air filters in your system. You can purchase good quality filters from most hardware stores. This process will achieve quality results if done properly.