How To Clean Home Air Ducts

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As Americans spend 90% of their time indoors, ensuring the air quality in your home is up to standard is crucial to staying healthy. After all, poor air quality can lead to a wealth of health and respiratory issues.

One surefire way to ensure you’re home is healthy is to clean your air ducts. However, if you’re unsure where to start, you may be hesitant to tackle this cleaning project.

If you’re unsure how to clean home air ducts, you’ll want to keep reading for the best tips and tricks to help you improve the quality of air in your home.

Gather Your Supplies

Before you can start cleaning, you’ll need to gather the necessary supplies to make the process easier.

You’ll need a few tools like a screwdriver or drill, a vacuum, and cleaning supplies like paper towels, a soft brush, and microfiber cloths.

You should also have protective eyewear, masks, and gloves to prevent dust and dirt from getting into your eyes or lungs. This is crucial, as you’ll be working with tiny particles that can make seeing and breathing extremely difficult.

Finally, you’ll need a new filter to replace the current one at the end of the cleaning. Ensure that the dimensions are suitable for your system before purchasing.

Clean the Covers

Once you have your supplies on hand, you can begin cleaning the ducts.

It’s important to note that some areas of the system may be inaccessible due to their angle or location. This is okay! Cleaning what you can reach is better than not cleaning at all, so don’t worry if you feel like you’re missing spots.

Begin the process by removing the covers from the vents using your power drill or screwdriver. To clean these, you can place them in the dishwasher or handwash them with gentle soap and warm water.

You’ll also want to ensure you clean the screws that hold the ducts in place, as they can harbor dust particles in the grooves of the screws. Just ensure you keep the screws labeled as to which vent cover they go with to prevent them from getting mixed up.

Loosen Dust

Once you’ve removed and cleaned the vent covers, you can begin air ducts cleaning. However, you’ll need to ensure that you loosen the dust currently in there to make the process easier.

Before you do this, you’ll want to cover your supply vents with a paper towel. Your supply vents are what send air or heat into a room, so you’ll want to prevent dust from blowing into your home. Simply remove the vent and slide a piece of paper towel underneath to help collect dust until you can clean that vent.

Once you’ve covered the extra vents, you’ll want to turn your unit fan on. This helps loosen up the dust that has settled inside the ducts, making it easier to collect and clean.

You can also knock around the outside of the ducts to remove any stubborn particles fixed to the inside of the vent. Use the brush handle to lightly tap around the duct to knock any of the stuck particles.

Clean Registers

Now, you can move to clean the supply registers. Using your vacuum and hose attachment, suck up dirt and dust particles from the inside of your ducts. Reach into the ducts as far as possible with the hose to get as much dust as you can access.

Once you’ve vacuumed the ducts, you can use your microfiber cloth to help pick up any remnants that you can reach around the opening of the vent. You may want to dampen the cloth to help pick up dust more effectively.

You’ll need to repeat this process on your return registers, as this is where the dirt and dust enter your vents.

As you clean each vent, you’ll want to check the filters in place. Many can be cleaned by hand, but if they’re looking worse for wear, replacing them is your best option to help prevent your indoor air quality from suffering again.

When cleaning, if you find this task relatively easy to complete, you should look into duct cleaning franchise opportunities to help you further your newfound passion.

You may find that dust and dirt stir immediately after turning the system back on – this is normal! It will subside rather quickly, as the last bits of dust and dirt are leaving the vent.

Dealing With Mold and Pests

As you clean, you’ll need to keep an eye out for mold growth in your vents. Mold can cause serious health complications when inhaled, so ensuring your ducts are free from this growth is crucial.

Generally, mold is caused by moisture and warmth. Humid temperatures that lead to excess moisture in your ducts are a recipe for mold and mildew growth.

If you find mold when cleaning home air ducts, you’ll need to take care of it quickly to prevent the issue from getting worse. Even if you only see a small area of growth, calling a remediation professional is recommended.

Though it may seem unnecessary to hire a professional for a few inches of mold, you may not be able to see the rest of the vent. This means you won’t know how extensive the problem is until a professional has assessed the area.

You may be tempted to clean the mold yourself. While this may seem simple, ordinary household cleaners aren’t strong enough to eliminate all mold growth. Professionals use industrial cleaners to remove all traces and possibilities for the growth to return.

Also, though it’s unsettling to consider, posts such as rodents or insects can plague your vents. Keeping an eye out for warning signs such as rattling, droppings, an increase in bugs, and odors can help let you know when it’s time to call pest control to take a look at your vents.

How Often Should You Clean?

When it’s time to clean home air ducts, you may wonder how often this truly needs to be done. Is one thorough cleaning every few years good enough to sustain healthy indoor air quality?

Unfortunately, this is a task you’ll want to complete twice a year.

The most ideal times are before you turn your air conditioning or heating on for months at a time, in the spring and fall respectively. After all, the dust has likely been building up during the period when your vents are stagnant and when windows are open to allow fresh air into your home.

Plus, staying on top of cleaning makes the job much less intensive. For example, if you clean every six months, the job will go much quicker than if you waited every other year to clean. It also allows you to stay up to date on the inside of your vents to see if there are any issues like mold, rust, or vermins that need to be addressed immediately.

Preventing Dirt, Dust, and Mold Buildup

Finally,  after learning how to clean air ducts, you’ll need to know how to prevent dirt and dust buildup to make cleaning your vents an easier project.

Generally, keeping your home clean is the most essential step in preventing the circulation of dust. When your home is covered in particles, any time you move, walk or sit can cause them to become loose and circulate in the air. This means they’ll end up in your vents.

You’ll also want to stay up to date on the lifespan of your air filters, as using worn, old, or damaged screens can make it easier for the dust to slip past and into your vents.

If mold is an issue in your air ducts, doing what you can to mitigate water and moisture in your vents is essential. Avoid steam cleaning vents, fix any leaks that could lead to excess moisture in the vents, and ensure all vents are properly sealed to prevent moisture from getting in.

How to Clean Home Air Ducts, Made Simple

Though it may seem like an unnecessary or laborious task, keeping your ducts clean is crucial to ensuring you stay healthy and can breathe easily in your home. Keeping these air ducts cleaning tips in mind is crucial to keeping your house free from dirt and dust.

If you’re ready to put your health first, thanks to this guide on how to clean home air ducts, you’ll want to check out the rest of our website. There, you’ll find more home and health tips and tricks to help you live your happiest life.

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