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DIY Air Duct Cleaning

Duct Cleaning Tips

When needing a full air duct ventilation cleaning, you’ll want to contact a professional with the proper industrial grade – negative pressure equipment, extra long reach cleaning tools, wands, brushes, etc., (e.g. Rotobrush) for the most effective cleaning. There are however a few areas where a DIY air duct cleaning service is possible and don’t need specialized equipment. All you’ll need is a vacuum, damp rag, a few hand tools, and proper respirator.

NOTE: Air vents are important to keep clear, as not to impede air flow, or increase dust levels in the home.

Return Air Duct Cleaning

Return air vents on the lower portions of the wall (first floor), will accumulate all sorts of debris over time.

  • Pet hair, dust, carpet fibers, etc., will settle to the floor and be pulled into those duct boot area locations by the vacuum effect of the return air vents. Upper floors and high wall mounted return air locations won’t suffer the same excess debris of hair and carpet fibers.
  • The amount of scheduled cleaning will vary on household conditions and environment.
  • This will be a good time to make sure all return air grilles are unobstructed by furniture and able to work effectively.
  • The reality is, some room designs don’t allow a fully exposed grille, completely free of any nearby furniture. At the very least, keep couches, chairs, etc., several inches in front of a grille, as to not completely block airflow.

SEE ALSO: How to Remove and Install a Vent Cover

Wall Return Duct with Hair and Dust Build-up

Floor Vent Air Duct Cleaning

  • Many times during construction there can be left behind debris inside the ductwork: piles of sawdust, pieces of wood, electrical conduit and fittings, PVC plumbing, copper plumbing, and nails or screws (see below).
  • Many of the floor vents, especially on first floors, have a 90° fitting near the register, so the debris will collect there and be within arms reach. Second floors may not be so accessible. If the lower level furnace supplies the upper floors, the duct will run straight up walls, and not create the same 90° bends near the register to reach in and clean.

WARNING: Always wear protective eyewear and any additional gear to remain safe during projects.

Round Duct and Floor Boot Connection
Round Duct and Floor Boot Connection
Duct and Floor Boot Connection with Debris Collection
Duct and Floor Boot Connection with Debris Collection
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