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How to Clean Vents and Air Ducts

How to Clean Vents and Air Ducts

Your air ducts are probably the last thing that you think about when completing your spring cleaning. Ductwork and ventilation are the biggest factors in your indoor air quality. Poor indoor air quality can result in throat and lung irritation, especially in people with respiratory and immune disorders. If you want to ensure that your air is clean, you need to add vent and duct cleaning to your to-do list. 

If you’re not comfortable cleaning your Sterling HVAC system yourself, give Cardinal Plumbing, Heating and Air a call at (703) 656-9715. 

Read on to learn how to clean vents and air ducts in your home.

Materials for Duct and Vent Cleaning

Before you start any kind of cleaning project, you should always make sure you have the proper tools and materials on hand. Here is what you’ll need for air duct cleaning:

  • Vacuum cleaner with a long hose: this will help get to those hard-to-reach places in your ductwork. If possible, a heavy duty, high powered vacuum cleaner will work best at cleaning your vents.
  • Ladder: if your vents are up high, you may want to use a ladder or step stool. Avoid using a chair.
  • Screwdriver: your vent covers have small screws keeping them in place. Check them first and make sure you have the right kind of screwdriver.
  • Long-handled brush or broom: a brush or broom is helpful to loosen up some of the debris that may be hanging onto the walls of the vent.
  • Microfiber cloth: used to wipe down the walls of the vents and any vertical or horizontal surfaces.
  • Soap and a bucket: to get your vents extra clean, you’ll use a soap and water solution to clean off your vent covers.
  • Filter: because you will already be up close and personal with the vents, why not change your filter at the same time? Kill two birds with one stone. 

Grab anything else that you think you might need. For example, some homeowners place old sheets or tarps on the ground so that debris and dust don’t fall onto the floors. 

Steps for Cleaning Vents and Air Ducts

Don’t be overwhelmed by the following list – we’ve broken the task up into many small steps so that you can quickly and easily complete it. Be sure to repeat these steps for each accessible vent. Here are the steps for cleaning your vents and air ducts:

1. Safety Measures

The most important thing that you can do is be safe. First, turn off your HVAC system. It may be best to complete this task on a day with mild weather so you can avoid sweating or freezing while your unit is off. Next, put on any protective equipment that you feel is necessary. For example, you may want to wear goggles or a face mask to avoid getting dust in your eyes and mouth. 

2. Remove and Clean Vent Covers

With your handy screwdriver, remove all of the screws holding your vent cover in place. Be sure to place the screws somewhere you won’t forget. Dust and brush off the vent covers to remove any debris. Next, you can fill a plastic tub with water and dish soap and let the covers soak. You can also wipe them down with a cloth and some cleaning solution. Either way, getting your vent covers squeaky clean will keep your air fresh. 

3. Loosen Dust and Debris in Air Ducts

Take your long handled brush or broom and start loosening up the dust in the ducts. All you have to do is drag the brush or broom along the walls and base. Keep an eye out for animal droppings or insects. If you notice these you’ll need to call a pest control company.

4. Vacuum Air Ducts

Now that the dust and debris is loose, you can vacuum it up. If your vacuum has a long hose then this should be simple. However, if your vacuum doesn’t have a long hose you can still get to most of the essential parts and clean pretty thoroughly. If you have to, you can always use a broom to bring debris from the back of the vent to the front, where you can dump them into a trash bag. 

5. Wipe Down Accessible Areas

Using a dry microfiber cloth, wipe down the walls, ceiling and base of the duct. This is to make sure that leftover dust is taken care of. You may not be able to reach far into the vent. Again, do what you can – the result will be better than not cleaning at all. 

6. Clean Excess Debris and Replace Covers

Now that you’ve finished cleaning your vents, you can replace the (now) clean covers. You may also need to sweep or vacuum up any dust that fell on your floor while you were cleaning. 

7. Replace Filters

This may be one of the most important steps of cleaning your vents and air ducts. Replacing your filter increases system efficiency and reduces the risk of unnecessary HVAC repairs and replacements. Not to mention that it will substantially improve your indoor air quality. There should be at least two filters installed in your home – it really depends on the size of your home. There will be one filter connected to your central unit and another located in one of the main gathering spaces in your home, such as the living room. Replacing these will keep your system in great shape and your household healthy.  

Sterling HVAC Repair and Maintenance

If you have been searching for Sterling, VA heating and air conditioning repair, look no further than Cardinal Plumbing, Heating and Cooling. Our team of expert technicians are ready to take on any problem you face. Whether you need your vents cleaned or a broken blower replaced, we have got you covered.

We provide repairs, replacements and maintenance for all kinds of heating and cooling equipment. Never look for another Sterling HVAC repair team again – choose Cardinal Plumbing, Heating and Cooling.

To schedule an appointment with our team, give us a call at (703) 656-9715 or contact us online.

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