DIY Air duct cleaning

DIY air duct cleaning is a great way to clean the ventilation ducts in your home while saving money at the same time. It's important to clean the air ducts in your home on a regular basis.


DIY air duct cleaning is a great way to clean the ventilation ducts in your home while saving money at the same time. It’s important to clean the air ducts in your home on a regular basis. By taking the time to learn how to take care of this important maintenance task yourself, you can avoid having to pay for a professional HVAC contractor to do it for you. Learn some DIY air duct cleaning tips and tricks, along with where to rent air duct cleaning equipment.

When to Clean Your Air Ducts

Regular cleaning of the air ducts in your home can eliminate or reduce dust and foul odors. There are certain times it is especially beneficial to clean your heating and air conditioning duct system. For example, if you purchase a home where the previous owners had animals, cleaning the air ducts before you move in can help rid the house of any permeating animal smell. Use the following recommendations to help decide when to clean your air ducts:

  • When you purchase a home
  • Once a year or more if someone has allergies or breathing problems
  • Once a year or more if you have pets
  • Every three to five years in normal household

DIY Duct Cleaning Cautions

Before you get down and dirty into your air ducts, remember, air duct cleaning isn’t for the faint of heart. While you’re elbow-deep in dust and dirt, you might discover things you’d rather you didn’t like mold, mildew, or even dead rodents. Therefore, it’s important to think about this adventure before going all-in yourself and not calling a professional. Additionally, when cleaning your duct use caution so you don’t rip or tear the duct.

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Do It Yourself Air Duct Cleaning Equipment

You know it’s time to clean those ducts. Rather than start grumbling, get ready by gathering a few materials.

  • A sturdy ladder
  • A screwdriver that fits the screws on your vents
  • Soft bristle brush with a long handle (vent cleaning brush or toilet brush)
  • Rags and towels
  • A vacuum cleaner with a hose attachment (shop vac recommended)
  • Furnace air filter
  • Gloves
  • Dust mask
  • Goggles

DIY Air Duct Cleaning Steps

You got your goggles in place and your gloves on, it’s time to get to work. With your tools at the ready, follow these steps:

  1. Climb up the ladder and remove the air duct grates (also called registers). If they are all on the floor, you can forgo the ladder and just start unscrewing.
  2. Take your rags and cover all your removed registers by tucking a rag under the unscrewed register. This ensures any dust you kick up isn’t pushed back into your house.
  3. Use your thermostat to get your fan going by clicking ‘fan on’. If you don’t have this option, just use the heat to get the fan to kick on.
  4. Use the rag to clean all the registers and grates.
  5. Put the brush in the register and loosen all the dirt and grime.
  6. Once all the dust is loosened, push the vacuum hose as far as you can into the duct and turn it on.
  7. Follow these steps until all your ducts are cleaned.
  8. Wash and replace the grates.
  9. Power off the furnace and change your HVAC filter.
  10. Clean out any compartments in your furnace that look dirty.

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