Air Duct Cleaning Guide: Steps to Cleaner and Healthier Home Air

San Rafael

(415) 942-6565

Santa Rosa

(707) 452-3464

Wondering how you can take care of dirty air ducts yourself? You’re in the right place. Air duct cleaning costs can be intimidating, and DIY duct cleaning can be a cheaper alternative when ensuring your home’s air ducts are clean and providing you with less contaminated air. We can give you all the tools needed to clean your air ducts in the 11-step guide below. You can clean all the ducts in your home with supplies from around the house or your local hardware store if you choose not to go with a professional HVAC contractor.

Air Duct Cleaning At Home

Cleaning your ducts is perfectly safe and do-able. But for successful duct cleaning, there are certain supplies you will need, and you will have to know your system, for example, where the return and supply vents are and the shape of each duct you clean. But as you will find in the 11 steps presented below, there are simple ways to successfully complete a duct cleaning within your home.

So, when is the best time to start? If you are about to start up your HVAC system after a period of non-use, it is a good idea to make sure you have clean air ducts so that dirt and dust buildup can be taken care of before spreading into the air of your home, which could trigger severe allergies and unhealthy ventilation. It is also a good idea to conduct your air duct cleaning after any residential project that could cause large amounts of debris and dust to accumulate and settle within your air ducts.

Why Should You Clean Air Ducts?

All sorts of debris can become clogged in an air duct over time, making regular duct cleaning necessary. Dust and dirt can be blown throughout your house, resulting in allergens for you and your family. Mold and mildew left to grow within the ducts can lead to serious health risks if you don’t check to ensure your heating and air system is clean.

The ducts within your heating and cooling system are vital to your indoor air quality by transporting warm or cold air through your house from your house’s HVAC system. They usually exist within the interior of your walls and ceilings, but you can access the air ducts in your home’s attics, basements, and crawl spaces. There will be supply ducts and return ducts: supply ducts transport air from the HVAC system and into your house, and return ducts draw the air from the rooms in your home back into the HVAC system. The return duct will most likely be dirtier than the supply duct since the air within your home will be messier than the conditioned air the supply ducts provide. You can tell which is which if you have your system running and you feel from each of the vents whether air is being blown out or sucked in.

Want to be hands-on with your duct systems so that your home is free from contaminated air? Follow the steps in this article to begin cleaning your ductwork!

11-Step Guide To Getting Your Ducts Cleaned Yourself

You will need a handful of tools to complete this home project. For successful air duct cleaning, the supplies you will need include:

Vacuum- You will need a powerful vacuum hose that can reach far into the ducts and adequately remove the debris, meaning you will most likely need a shop vacuum instead of a household vacuum.

Protective gear- Eye protection and some form of dust mask are highly recommended to protect against the dirt and debris that will emerge from the dirty ducts that you don’t want to breathe into your lungs.

Stiff brush- Something like a toilet brush that will be strong enough and the right length to scrape away and loosen up the debris in the ducts.

Cleaning cloth- A microfiber cloth that can help wipe away extra dust built into the sides of the vents to get the interior as clean as possible.

Screwdriver- Or similar power tool that will remove screws from the air vents so you can take them off to get to the ducts.

Paper towels- To block the dust from a return duct or supply duct that is not cleaned.

New air filter- To replace your older filter for your newly cleaned air ducts and get the full benefits of your hard duct cleaning work.

2) Remove the vent covers/grill plates

You will want to wash every vent cover as well. Do this either by washing them with warm water, a brush, and detergent in the sink before letting them air dry, or put them in the dishwasher.

3) Place a paper towel over every supply and return the vent opening that is not being cleaned

Do this to stop the built-up dust from emerging from the return and supply vents and dirtying your house.

4) Set your thermostat to “fan on” position

Set heat mode and relaxed mode to “off” so it is on “fan only” mode. This will allow the furnace fan to help loosen up the debris within your air ducts.

5) Loosen up the debris in the supply vent with your brush

Make sure you examine the shape of the vent to see which angle and direction to insert the cleaning brush. Then, circle the ductwork to dislodge the buildup gathered within the vents. You will do this for both the supply vents and the return vents.

6) Use your vacuum hose with a nozzle and brush to suck up all of the debris within the ducts

Remember that rather than your standard household vacuum, it is better to use something more substantial, like a shop vacuum, to have enough power to remove most dirt in the air ducts.

7) Reach down with your microfiber cloth and wipe down any excess dust and debris

Move the fabric repeatedly along the walls to catch and remove dirt and any contaminants that were missed with the vacuum cleaner, and continuously rinse your cloth as you go, keeping it slightly damp.

8) Use your brush and vacuum now to clean out the other supply registers or return vents

Remove paper towels from the vent you are cleaning, then use the same steps and technique for each vent.

9) Use your vacuum cleaner to suck up the dust within the blower compartment in your furnace and return the air boot

Turn off the fan and use the breaker panel or service switch to power off the system before removing the front panels of the stove. The blower and return air boot are where the return air is pulled in through the filter so that these areas can be filled with dirt.

10) Replace the old air filter with your new furnace filter to preserve the clean ducts

Your air vents may be clean, but you want to ensure you are not reinserting a filthy air filter, so it is always best to put in a new one after duct cleaning so that your hard work doesn’t go to waste.

11) Replace supply vent covers and return air grill plates

Make sure all air duct covers are adequately sealed. After this, all you have to do is reset the heat and cool settings on the thermostat.

Then your duct cleaning is complete! If you repeat this 11-step DIY duct cleaning routine every couple of months, your duct system will remain debris-free and keep things like pet hair and excessive dust from circulating in your home. Your HVAC system will output nothing but clean and healthy air, just as it should.

Is That All It Takes To Have Clean Ducts?

Remember, if you would prefer to have your home’s air ducts cleaned for you, you can always call on the professional air duct cleaning services at John Owens. Our service will clean supply registers and return air registers so that you will immediately feel the complete benefit of clean air ducts in your home without lifting a finger. You can find information on our duct cleaning services here.

There are ways to prevent a large amount of duct cleaning for your system. If your ducts are properly sealed and you have a well-functioning air filtration and air purification system, as well as intact ductwork, the likelihood of needing continuous duct cleaning will lessen. Your indoor air quality will improve, and you won’t have to trouble yourself with getting a professional duct cleaning done or performing it regularly when you ensure that your heating and cooling system is operating at its highest capacity and that every aspect is up to date.

If you are still unsure about attempting the cleaning process yourself, call John Owens Services for your home’s air duct cleaning. Our professional service guarantees you will not have a single dirty air duct in your house after we perform our exemplary duct cleaning maintenance. Take the stress of air duct cleaning off your mind by contacting us today by phone or online!

It is possible to clean your air ducts yourself. Knowing the air you breathe in your home is clean and healthy is essential for your house and family. A great way to tell if your home has clean and healthy air is by having a professional install an air monitoring system like a HAVEN monitor to let you know how your air quality is and if additional cleaning, filtering, or purification is needed. Air duct cleaning can be intimidating, but by following this simple 11-step guide, you will have clean ducts and vent covers kept pristine by a new HVAC filter. Ensure your duct system supplies you with the uncontaminated air your house needs!

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San Rafael
(415) 942-6565
Santa Rosa
(707) 452-3464



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San Rafael
(415) 942-6565
Santa Rosa
(707) 452-3464