Cleaning Your Air Ducts

Written by April Reinhardt (last updated January 18, 2021)

I'd wager that the majority of homeowners overlook the importance of cleaning their home air ducts, even if they have household members susceptible to allergies, asthma, and other respiratory illnesses. Even the United States Environmental Protection Agency says that duct cleaning alone has never been shown to actually prevent health problems. Even so, cleaning your air ducts on a regular schedule can do more good than simply ignoring them year after year.

So, how do you decide when to clean your air ducts? As with any other home preventative maintenance program, you should inspect and clean your air ducts annually. Gather everything necessary to clean before you begin the task. Typically, you'll need a vacuum with a hose and soft brush attachments, a screw driver, old rags, spray cleaner, vacuum cleaner bags, duct tape, paper towels, and possibly a dust mask.

Follow these easy steps for cleaning your air ducts, and greatly improve the air quality within your home:

  1. Locate the air return and vent covers within your home. Remove the covers with a screwdriver.
  2. Wash the vent covers completely and allow them to air dry.
  3. Remove the air filters if they are installed. If they are reusable filters, wash them with a strong stream of water, and then allow them to air dry while you clean the ductwork.
  4. Fit your vacuum hose with a soft brush attachment, and tape it in place with duct tape. It would be unfortunate to have the brush attachment become loose and fall into the ductwork while vacuuming. Vacuum into the air ducts as far as you can reach.
  5. Using a spray cleaner and old rags, clean around the mouth of the vent and ducts. Wash the inside of the ducts as far as you can reach, and don't forget to clean around the walls of the vent and ductwork.
  6. Replace the air filters, and then reattach the clean vent covers.

If, while you are cleaning, you see signs of mold growth, call a professional for an assessment of your ductwork and vents. If you choose to hire a professional, ask them to use a commercial disinfectant after cleaning your air ducts.

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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