Your air ducts and vents require regular maintenance. Ignoring tasks such as replacing the filter every month can invite pollutants into your home̵
It is also important to note that those with clean channels report better overall health. And for people with respiratory problems and allergies, clean ventilation can prevent symptoms from triggering and becoming a higher risk. Be sure to contact a healthcare professional if you have questions about how indoor air quality can affect your health.
Keep reading for details on how to safely clean dirty air ducts, including whether you should actually handle this work yourself – or hire a professional instead.
Hire a professional
Although you can certainly try to do a basic cleaning of your air ducts yourself, we strongly recommend consulting a professional for a more thorough job. The home’s HVAC system has a number of sensitive components that should only be available and maintained by a professional service provider who knows what they are doing. Fan motors, fan housings, heat exchangers and cooling coils can be covered in dust, which requires professional insight and experience to clean safely.
Apart from dust, pests and microbial pathogens can also live in your air ducts. The use of chemical agents, such as pesticides and biocides, will require an expert from a professional. The HVAC system may have been contaminated or damaged by pests, which could lead to unexpected hazards. Play it smart and leave the air cleaning to a qualified supplier.
Find an air cleaning service
Start here to search for a professional air purifier.
If you are in any of the following states – AZ, AK, CA, FL, GA, MI and TX – ask your potential air duct cleaner if they have a special license. Qualified service providers may have their own special approach to how they go about cleaning your channels, but they should incorporate NAIMA’s practice and NADCA’s industry standard into their work, especially if the channel work involves fiberglass. Want to know if your duct cleaner was thorough? Consider viewing the EPA’s mail cleaning consumer checklist.
Be wary of companies that claim remarkable health benefits, as research into clean air ducts and their impact on residents’ health is still in its infancy. All air ducts collect dust and require cleaning, although the amount of dust that guarantees a cleaning is subjective. A professional can help you identify the home’s specific needs for cleaning air ducts and provide tips for improving indoor air quality all year round.
How to clean the air ducts
Still curious about the steps involved in cleaning air ducts? Here’s the basics, although we still do not recommend trying it as a DIY project:
1. Check the ventilation openings
Open a ventilation cover to see if there is dirt, dust or other things you do not want in there.
2. Check the return registers
Check the return air registers for dust formation. Pay special attention if there is a thick layer coated on the registers.
3. Remove the filter
Remove and inspect the air filter. If your air filter is dirty and covered in dust, it’s time to replace it.
4. Check the oven
Open the oven compartment and check the blower fan, motor and oven controls for dust.
5. Check the air conditioner
Examine the air conditioner. If you find dust on it or the house walls, your air filter will not work.
6. Turn off the power
Turn off the power to the heating and air conditioning systems. Note: Switching off the thermostat does not switch off the unit; you must turn off the power at the switch panel or the power switch on the oven.
7. Remove the covers and clean them
Remove the air duct covers and clean the grates with a brush. Be sure to be thorough. Use a vacuum to clean the ducts. A model with a hose gives you the most maneuverability possible.
8. Clean the ceiling vents
Finally, clean the ceilings. You can use a vacuum cleaner or broom to clean the dust.
Want to learn more about your air ducts? Browse our articles at, , and .
The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a doctor or other qualified healthcare professional regarding questions you have about a medical condition or health goal.