Generally speaking, it’s best to leave tasks like cleaning your HVAC ductwork and vents to the professionals like those at Rowland Air, who have the knowledge, experience, and equipment to do the job right. However, if you’re an avid DIYer when it comes to home maintenance, there’s nothing to stop you from giving it a shot, and you’ll benefit from regular cleaning by improving indoor air quality, as well as air flow throughout your home.
In most cases, ducts don’t gather too much dust, as long as you replace your filters regularly, but over time, they will need cleaning, and the vents where air goes in and comes out are the most likely areas of accumulation. While you can’t really clean the ductwork, as this requires specialized equipment, vents offer relatively easy access. How do you clean them?
Gather Needed DIY Duct Cleaning Tools
Having the right tools for any job will ensure quick and easy completion, so start by grabbing a screwdriver or socket wrench (depending on how your vents are secured), a broom, a duster or cleaning rag, and if you have one, a shop vac or other heavy-duty vacuum with a hose attachment. You may need a stepstool or ladder to reach vents on or near the ceiling.
If you want to avoid some mess, you could also use a drop cloth. To protect yourself from falling dust or debris, consider wearing a dust mask and goggles during cleaning.
Prep to Clean Your HVAC Vents
Before you start, make sure you HVAC system is off. You don’t want a blast of air blowing dust in your face mid-cleaning. From there, go through your house unscrewing and removing vent covers. If a haphazard paint job has stuck them in place, use a razor to carefully trim the edges (so you don’t accidentally pull paint off the wall removing them).
Clean the HVAC Grates
Once grates are removed, give them a once over with your duster or rag, or if they’re fairly dirty or grimy, wash them with gentle soap (like dish soap) and water and leave them to dry. Kitchen grates sometimes develop a layer of grime due to the dispersion of cooking oil. If you can’t reach grates in the ceiling or don’t feel safe removing them, swipe them with your broom to remove visible dust.
Clean the Vents
Once the grates are clean, it’s time to move on to the openings of vents themselves. The easiest way to clean them is to use the hose attachment on your vacuum and get as far inside the vents as you can reach.
If you discover mold or pests in your vents, it’s best to call in professionals like a mold remediation company or a pest control service. If you find excessive dust that you can’t reach or reasonably clean on your own, it’s time to schedule a professional duct cleaning. Once you’ve finished vacuuming, replace vent covers and turn your HVAC system back on.