How to Clean Air Ducts Yourself

Would you like to learn how to clean air ducts yourself?

How about learning how you can increase the life span of your air conditioner and improve the air quality around your home? 

How to Clean Air Ducts Yourself

In today’s post, I will show you how to clean air ventilation ducts yourself. Which has an added benefit of not only improving the air quality around your home, but it’d also make your heating system last much longer.

With this method, you can eliminate the dust in your ducts without enlisting the services of a professional truck-mounted-vacuum system. Saving you a great deal of money along the way.

But before I show you how to clean air ducts yourself, here are 5 signs that confirm you should have your air ventilation ducts cleaned.

And in the latter part of this post, I will show you how you can clean your air ventilation ducts yourself.

How to Clean Air Ducts Yourself

1.  You Haven’t Changed The Air Filter in Months

Most people forget that you shouldn’t let your HVAC system’s filter remain unchanged for more than six months.

Let’s face it, during the winter seasons that require moderately less air conditioner use. Full filters rarely pose a problem, because the windows are usually closed.

But during summer when your windows are always open to let in the sunshine. Pets and kids are all over the place. In this seasons, the air is rife with pollen, debris, trapped dust, pet hair, and other air contaminants.

And once your filter is full, this particles can accumulate in your air ducts or in the air-conditioner itself.

2. The Vent Covers And Registers Have Visible Dust

Another telltale sign of dirty air ducts is the buildup of dust on your registers and vent covers. 

You may also observe an increase in dust distributed around your home.

3. Mold in or Around Your HVAC System

If you see mold around the vent covers, or you observe it growing around your indoor air-conditioning unit, please take action quickly.

We all know dust can negatively impact your health, but mold is on another level of bad.

Apart from exacerbating allergies, it can quickly spread through your home.

How to Clean Air Ducts Yourself

4. Inconsistent Airflow From Room to Room

Are the quality of airflow in your bathroom and your other bedrooms consistent?

If you detect that a bathroom, kitchen or bedroom does not receive the same level of airflow like other rooms, your duct may require cleaning.

5. You Hear Noises In The Air ventilation Duct

We generally grow accustomed to the quirkiness and sometimes normal ‘noisiness’ of our machines.

Having used your HVAC system for a few months or years, you begin to develop an ear for its quirks and sounds.

Nevertheless, your air ventilation duct should not generate additional noise.

So, if you hear any unusual sound other than the general whooshing sound or running blower motor, then it is highly likely that your air ventilation duct may have a blockage or accumulated debris and dust.

The above signs will help you properly diagnose if your air ventilation duct requires cleaning.

I promised to show you how to clean your air ducts yourself, so here we go.

With the method I am about to show you, you can potentially eliminate 85% of the dust in your air ventilation ducts without spending an arm and a leg.

How Often Should You Clean Your Air Ventilation Ducts?

At the minimum, it is advised that you clean your air ducts twice a year.

Before we get started on the procedures required for cleaning your air ducts, here are the tools you need.

DIY Air Duct Cleaning Tools You Need

How to Clean Air Ducts Yourself

  1. Screwdriver: Comes in handy for unscrewing vents. It’s also handy for gaining access to dirty supply and return registers.
  2. Cleaning Cloths And Paper Towels: Use them to prevent dust from shooting out through the supply and return registers while vacuuming.
  3. Vacuum Cleaner: Will help you suck up dust and debris lodged in those hard to reach places in your ventilation ducts and registers.
  4. Brush: Use this to dislodge any dirt and debris that may be stuck to the air ventilation ducts. Something like a toilet brush will work well.
  5. Furnace Filter: You’ll use this to replace your dirty furnace filter.
  6. Dust Mask: Cleaning your air duct will kick up a lot of dust. A dust mask will protect your lungs against dusts encountered during cleaning.

How To Clean Air Ducts Yourself Step-By-Step Process

1.  Cover Air Supply Registers

The first step in this process is to cover all openings that supply and return heated air into rooms with paper towels.

The essence of this is to stop dislodged dust particles from entering your home.

2. Turn off Heat Supply

The next step is to turn off the heat supply from the furnace.

3. Turn on Air Fan

Turning on the fan will release the dust and move them along the air ventilation duct as you clean. If your furnace doesn’t have a fan-only option, use the heat option.

How to Clean Air Ducts Yourself

4. Check Filter

Ensure that your old furnace filter is still in place, so dust doesn’t get pulled into the fan motor.

5. Breakup Buildup of Dust in Duct

Breakup any buildup of dust in the air duct. This action will help loosen dust that has stuck to the sides of the duct.

6. Clean Supply Registers

Turn on your vacuum cleaner and start cleaning out the dust in all your registers.

To do that, lift the register and use the vacuum hose to capture any dust or debris being pushed out by the fan.

Depending on the quantity of the dust buildup, it may require a brush with a long handle and a heavy-duty vacuum cleaner.

As you move around your house cleaning the supply registers, take off the paper towels you put in place.

7. Clean Return Air Registers

Clean out return air registers. It is most likely fastened with a screw, and will require a screwdriver to unscrew them.

Once it is open, sweep out any accumulated dust inside. Try to reach in as far as you can.

8. Unscrew Air Duct Covers

To gain access to the air ducts, use a standard screwdriver to unscrew air duct covers and grills.

Clean the grates using a clean cloth. Consider using soap and water if they are too dirty.

9. Vacuum Clean Air Ventilation Ducts

Ideally, your vacuum cleaner should have a hose long enough to reach corners and hard to reach spots.

If possible, get a heavy-duty vacuum cleaner. A conventional vacuum cleaner is not as powerful for deep cleaning.

After vacuuming, wipe the interior with a cleaning cloth.

10. Turn Off Fan and Furnace

I recommend you shut off the fan and turn off the power connected to the unit.

11. Clean Blower Compartment

Please ensure that you turn off the furnace.

Now that the power is off, you can access the return air boot and blower compartment by removing the panels on the front of the furnace.

This is where the bulk of the dust will be. So get ready. Use your vacuum cleaner to mop up the dust built up in the blower compartment and return air boot.

Since you are here, consider cleaning the furnace fan. Take care not to damage the furnace fan.

12. Replace Furnace Filter

A damaged or clogged furnace filter will not only restrict airflow, but it will also reduce the lifespan of your air-conditioner. 

A dirty filter restricts airflow to the fan which makes the blower motor to run hotter than normal.

Buying a quality filter will reduce the buildup of dust in your home, and protect the blower fan from all the dust, hair and other debris the return duct pulls in. 

Before you install the new filter, write the date on the side of the filter so you will know the last time you changed it.

How often you change your filters depends on your location, your home, and your pets.

Congratulations on Learning How to Clean Air Ducts Yourself

Cleaning your air ventilation ducts and vents in your home can be effective in improving the air quality around your home.

However, when you are done cleaning. Your home may be in a little mess. So use your cleaning cloth and the vacuum cleaner to dust your furniture.

If you are having trouble cleaning your air ventilation duct yourself, please consider enlisting the services of a professional.

Hope you found this information helpful.