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HVAC: How To Clean Your Ducts

When it comes to your HVAC system, the ducts are something often overlooked, but one of the most important elements. If your ducts are dirty or blocked, your air conditioning and heater aren't going to work properly. This not only leads to a higher energy bill and AC or heater that works extra hard, but the air being distributed into your home is not as clean. Here is what you need to know about cleaning your ducts and how to do so.

Getting Started

Before you start cleaning the ducts, be sure you are well-prepared. There are a few tools and supplies you need to get them cleaned, including a brush, screwdriver, household cleaner, bucket, rags, zip tie, and mastic. They should take less than an hour to clean, but be sure you have an hour or so of free, undistracted time to get the job done. It could take a few hours if you have a lot of ducts in your home. Before getting started with cleaning the ducts, make sure the area around the entrance to them is clean. You don't want to add more dust and debris while trying to clean them out.

Inspect the Ducts

The first thing you need to do is remove the liners from the dust connectors at the ceiling or wall, and at the unit itself. There are inner liners and outer liners that must be removed. They are usually easy to remove, but some might have screws. Once they are removed, along with any grill plates, you can look into the ducts to assess how much cleaning needs to be done. Even if you have furnace filters, you should still take a look at the walls inside and see if they need to be cleaned. A rag and brush will work great at removing dirt and dust from the wall. You don't want to use a vacuum for the inside of the walls because it can damage them.

Vacuum the Air Ducts

While the interior walls should not be cleaned with a vacuum, this tool works well on cleaning the ducts themselves. Not only does it pick up most of the dirt and debris hidden in the ducts, but the sucking motion pulls up as much dirt as possible. If you just used a rag on the ducts, you wouldn't get very far and it might just push some of the dirt around. Hook up a long vacuum attachment to your vacuum cleaner, place it into the duct as far as you can, and turn on the vacuum. This hose attachment will pick up all the dirt and debris hidden in there. It can also get out some irritants that would otherwise remain, such as dust mites and pet dander.

If you don't want to clean them yourself, you can also call an HVAC technician like one from Kassel Appliance & Ac Repair to do this for you on more of a routine basis.