While professional duct cleaning every 5 to 10 years is still recommended, there are steps you can take in between to help keep your air ducts and ventilation system cleaner:
Change (or Clean) Air Filters Regularly
Replace or thoroughly clean your HVAC system’s air filter at least every 3 months. Dirty filters trap less dust, allowing more contaminants into your ducts. Opt for higher MERV-rated filters for better performance.
Vacuum Vent Grates and Registers
Use the end of a vacuum hose or attachment to thoroughly vacuum dust and debris from vent grates, registers and returns. Do this every 1 to 3 months depending on need.
Seal Air Leaks
Look for and seal any air leaks to minimize contaminants drawn into your ductwork. Seal gaps around wiring and pipes where they enter your home. Install door sweeps and weatherstripping if needed.
Clean or Replace Humidifiers and Dehumidifiers
Clean evaporator pans, trays and pads on humidifiers and dehumidifiers at least twice per year. Replace pads or filters as directed to keep them working efficiently.
Reduce Indoor Contaminants
Limit sources of dust, mold, dander and other pollutants that end up in your ducts. Vacuum and dust regularly, keep humidity between 30% to 50%, and don’t allow pets in rooms with vent returns.
Avoid using strong air fresheners, candles and other odor sources that deposit wax and perfume residues in your ductwork over time. Open windows when cooking or using cleaning products.
Keep Drain Lines Clear
Clogged condensate drain lines in air conditioners can allow moisture to collect inside duct cleaning, breed bacteria and cause musty smells. Have lines cleaned annually.
Have HVAC System Professionally Serviced
A technician can identify issues that may worsen air quality if left unaddressed. They’ll clean blower components, check refrigerant levels and electrical connections, and perform any needed repairs.
Inspect Flexible Ducts for Damage
Look for cracks, holes or collapsing ducts that allow more dust inside. Have a technician replace any damaged flexible ducting.
These quick tips can make a difference in keeping your air ducts as clean and contaminant-free as possible between professional cleanings. Dirty ducts negatively impact the entire HVAC system, so keep them in mind as part of basic routine maintenance to ensure optimal performance, indoor air quality and comfort.