Cleaning Dirty Ducts

by April Reinhardt
(last updated August 19, 2010)

How clean is the air in your home? Oftentimes, we take for granted the ability to just breathe clean air, with little thought to how it is supplied within our homes. The central air conditioning system combines a series of ductwork to supply fresh and, hopefully, clean air to each room of the house. The air in your home is only as clean as the ductwork that provides it. So, it makes sense to routinely clean your ducts, or hire a professional to clean them. While you should hire a professional to clean the places you cannot reach, you can clean you're the most vital parts of your ductwork yourself. Some of the materials you will need are a screwdriver, duct tape, heavy-duty cleaning gloves, paper towels, rags, vacuum cleaner with attachments, filters, cleaning brushes, step ladder, spray cleaner, such as Formula 409 or Windex, and dust mask

Before attempting to clean your ducts, make sure the central air conditioning system is turned off. If there is a breaker for your system, flip the breaker to the off position. Change the vacuum cleaner bag of your vacuum. Always use a new bag before vacuuming your ducts. Follow these steps to clean your dirty ducts:

  1. Go through your entire house and remove all of the vent covers using your screwdriver.
  2. Remove all of the air filters.
  3. Use the duct tape to tape the attachment to the vacuum cleaner hose to prevent it from coming apart once it's inside of the duct.
  4. Vacuum the first duct, starting at the mouth of the duct, and reach into the duct as far as you can with your vacuum cleaner attachment and hose. Take care not to shove the hose forcefully, as you may dislodge the ducts from each other.
  5. Use your rags, paper towels, and spray cleaner to wash the mouth of the ductwork.
  6. Either clean your existing air filter, or replace it with a new one, and then place the filter it place.
  7. Before replacing the vent cover, vacuum it and then clean it thoroughly with your spray cleaner and rags or paper towels.

Repeat the entire process with each vent and ductwork piece. Once all of the filters and vent covers are back in place, flip the breaker back on and turn on your central air conditioning unit and allow the fan to run for at least an hour.

Author Bio

April Reinhardt

An admin­istrator for a mutual fund man­age­ment firm, April deals with the writ­ten word daily. She loves to write and plans to author a memoir in the near future. April attend­ed More­head State Uni­ver­sity to pursue a BA degree in Ele­men­tary Edu­ca­tion. ...

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