How to Clean Your Heating Ducts
If you want better air quality in your home, and want a heating system that runs more efficiently this winter, why not learn how to clean your own air ducts? Keeping these ducts clean will mean less dirt and fewer germs in the air your family breathes, and will help your heating and cooling system work better and last longer.
Air conditioning and heating units are designed to work most efficiently in a closed building, where the air ducts can supply heated or cooled air wherever needed without wasting energy through leaks or points in the system where energy can escape. The downside of better sealing in most buildings these days is that over time, pollutants can build up within air ducts, and be recirculated endlessly, decreasing air quality. Household chemicals, dirt, dust mites, mold, and even bacteria and viruses can all build up in air ducts and lead to increased respiratory problems and aggravation of existing conditions like asthma. You should have your air ducts professionally cleaned by an R.S. Andrews technician at least once per year, but in the mean time, you can drastically increase air quality and improve system efficiency by cleaning your ducts yourself.
What You’ll Need
- A screwdriver for opening duct registers
- Gloves to protect your hands from dirt and possible sharp edges
- Rags or paper towels
- A vacuum cleaner with an extension high enough to reach your ducts
Once you have your cleaning materials ready, it’s a straightforward matter to start cleaning.
Clean the Vent Grille
Start with one vent, and wipe down the grille of the vent itself as well as the surrounding ceiling and walls. If the vent is in the floor, you’ll want to sweep the area around it to ensure that no dirt or dust will fall back in as soon as you finish cleaning. Once the grille and area around it have been cleaned, you can remove it with the screwdriver and set it aside for the time being.
Get Down and Dirty in the Duct
Once the vent has been removed, you’re ready to clean inside the duct. Make sure you’re wearing gloves at this stage, as dangerous mold and bacteria can be present inside the vent. Reach inside the duct and wipe the surfaces of the duct walls down with a rag or paper towel, then follow with the vacuum, taking care to reach as far into the duct as the vacuum will allow. You may want to use some household cleaners around the outside of the vent, but you should avoid putting chemicals into the duct itself.
Replace the Vent Grille and Spot Clean
Once you’ve cleaned the inside of the duct, you can replace the vent grille and screw it back into place. After a final wipe-down of the vent and surround walls, ceiling or floor, and you’ve just finished cleaning your duct! Repeat these steps for each vent in your home, and you’ve gone a long way toward improving your air quality.
Call the Pros
Remember, however, that this light cleaning is no match for the professional cleaning and service an R.S. Andrews technician can provide for your system. With heating season upon us, many Atlanta homeowners will be turning on the heat for the first time and receiving a rude awakening as dust and allergens pour into their home from dirty vents. If it’s been a while since your last checkup, call R.S. Andrews today to schedule a cleaning for your heating system so you can stay warm and healthy this winter.