Generally, ducts and vents are important components in any home as they help to regulate the heating and cooling in the house. Unfortunately, they may, overtime, become clogged with dust & debris, rendering your heating and cooling system ineffective. Additionally, dust particles will be spread throughout the house posing a health hazard particularly for people with allergies, asthma or other related illnesses. Having your ducts and vents properly and regularly cleaned is therefore very important and, luckily, is something you can do on your own by following several steps. Knowing how to clean the ducts and vents of the home will ultimately help you save on heating and cooling bills and decrease distribution of dust throughout your home.
How to clean ducts and vents
Generally, a vent and duct cleaning procedure should include the following:
The whole forced-air system from every register and down the duct-lines, including all the main lines in the basement.Cleaning of the air handling side of the furnace to remove all loose dirt or debris from the blower compartment and the heat exchanger.A herbal disinfectant to kill pathogens like bacteria and fungus as well as mold, especially in severe cases of clogging.
How to clean vents
For this process, you’ll need the following items which you can easily get from a local store:
1) A broom /traditional duster
2) Vacuum cleaner with attachments
3) New air filters
5) Screw driver
6) Duct tape
Steps for cleaning vents
1) Start by dusting the vents with the broom. If your vent is up on the ceiling, you might need to sweep the floor underneath it when you’re finished to remove any dust or debris that will have fallen on it. If necessary, the grates can be wiped with a damp cloth.
2) Next up, unscrew the vent covers and put aside. Remove all large objects that may have fallen in (such as small toys). Note that, depending on the structure behind your vent, you might get shocked or even burned, if removing the objects by hand. So you need to be very careful!
3) Now vacuum the ducts with a crevice attachment to clear out dust bunnies or other debris that has been settling on your air ducts. When vacuuming, you may want to tap the attachments to the vacuum hose to prevent losing them in the air ducts (especially if you’re cleaning floor ducts).
4) Once done, screw all the vent covers back on, making sure to tighten them! It may also be necessary to vacuum the area surrounding your vents as dust might have escaped. If the vents are broken or chipped, replace them.
5) To keep allergens & dust away from the source, consider replacing the air filters in your furnace. Vent filters may need to be changed or cleaned once every 2 months and are available to put just behind or over the vent.
While they might cause more hassle when it comes to cleaning, they are especially useful if someone in your family has airborne allergies like dust or mold. The extra layer of protection will help keep the air circulating throughout your home.
6) If the above steps have not worked out as expected, it may be wise to enlist the services of a cleaning professional as they have the super-strength vacuums & brushes to remove the deeply embedded dust and debris. Consider doing this during the off-season months of April, May, October or November to save some money.
How to clean ducts
Cleaning your air ducts will dramatically cut down on the dirt that causes wear & tear on the system’s components, reduce the frequency of how often you dust and, most importantly, help to keep the air in your home clean. For this you’ll need the following items:
1) Furnace filter
2) A household type vacuum Brush
3) Paper towels
4) Screwdriver /Hex driver
Steps for cleaning ducts
1) Start by covering the supply registers with paper towels to help keep the dust down as you work on the ducts. Simply lift each register at a time, wrap the paper over it and then replace it.
2) Once done, change your thermostat setting to “fan on” and then turn off the “heat/cool” mode to leave only the fan running while cleaning. If there’s no fan option, you may run the heat option but it may be a sign for the need to install a newer system with the helpful option.
3) Next up, check to make sure that your filter is in place to avoid the dust you knock loose while cleaning getting sucked into the fan motor.
4) Use the handle of your brush to knock loose any build up of dust in the duct system. Simply hold the handle and tap on all accessible duct work in the basement. This can help break up all areas where dust particles may have absorbed moisture from the air and hardened and become embedded to the sides of your duct.
5) You can now start sweeping out dust and debris in the supply registers. With the hose running and placed near the register, slowly lift the register and use the hose to catch dust that’s being blown out by the fan. Proceed to sweep deep into the register’s piping to as far as your hose can go. If needed, use the brush to knock loose any built-up dust in the register. Remove and dispose of the paper towels as you continue sweeping out your supply registers.
6) The return air registers should also be thoroughly swept .Since they’re likely to be fastened with screws, you require a screwdriver or other similar tool to remove them. Be sure to brush and sweep as far the register piping as you can.
7) To access the inner components of your duct system, you’ll need to remove the panels on the front part of the furnace. Start by shutting the fan off and then power off to the furnace either through the breaker panel or service switch. Do not simply shut off your thermostat.Once the power is off, carefully remove the panels on the furnace to access the blower compartment as well as the return air boot. Use the vacuum to sweep up all dust built up in these compartments (this is where the majority of dust will be). You should also consider cleaning the furnace as well. Return the panels when done.
Like is the case with the vents, you may consider hiring a professional air duct cleaning company every one or two years to ensure that the areas of your duct that you couldn’t reach are worked on and cleaned thoroughly.