Five Facts - How To Clean AC Air Ducts & Extending HVAC Life
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5 Facts About Cleaning Air Ducts
Knowing how to clean air ducts is essential whether you plan to perform all of your HVAC maintenance DIY or even if you want services done by a professional. Cleaning your air ducts comes with several benefits both to your system and to your home. Below are five facts about duct cleaning you may not have been aware of, but that everyone should know.
1-Air Ducts Matter to your HVAC
Understanding why the air ducts in your AC systems and furnace systems are a vital component that helps direct the airflow of your AC system so that cooled air is delivered into your home. Your system will have a series of ducts throughout your home that pulls the air in through the intake vents and then cools it before passing it through a filter to remove contaminants and then delivering it out to the rooms in your home.
How Air Ducts Affect Home and Office Climate
Your air ducts are part of the cooling cycle of your HVAC system and help to get your home or office to the desired climate. The negative pressure in the ductwork will help to suck the air in from the house, where it can be cleaned and cooled before exiting the vents to deliver the cooled air into the rooms. The system will deliver air through the ductwork until the desired temperature is reached and then shut off until more heated or cooled air is needed to maintain the temperature.
The return ducts are the portion that pulls the air in from the home, and the supply ducts are the ones that push it out. The number of vents in a room will determine how much cooled air will be delivered to that space at a time. Smaller rooms may only have one, while larger rooms or rooms with more open space may have two to more.
2 - Cleaning HVAC Air Ducts can Affect the Lifespan of Your HVAC System
If you are wondering how to clean HVAC ducts, you likely understand how proper cleaning of the air ducts and their maintenance can help improve your HVAC system's longevity and keep it running as efficiently as possible. Having cleaned air ducts means that the air can flow more freely through the system and out into the rooms in your home. Freer movement in your ductwork means your HVAC system won’t have to work as hard. The less your HVAC system has to work, the longer it will last, and the lower your energy bills will be.
Air Ducts Can Age Like Other Systems
It is essential to understand that air ducts can age and become worn or damaged, just like any other part of your HVAC system. Since the ductwork doesn’t seem as active as other parts, many homeowners falsely believe it will last forever. Just like your HVAC system, your ductwork is designed to last around 15 to 20 years. After that many years, it may be advisable to replace it to ensure that our system maintains its efficiency.
Even though your ductwork is not running like your HVAC system when in use, it is subject to significant vibration as the air moves through. It also can expand and contract as the temperature changes with the seasons. Both these issues can lead to wear and tear in your ductwork that may result in needed repair or replacement.
Cleaning Can Extend Your Air Duct Lifespan
You know your HVAC system is an investment, and knowing how to clean air ducts can allow you to get as much life out of them as possible. As dirt, debris, dander, allergens, and dust build up in your air ducts, they can become caked on the inside and lead to damage resulting in a shorter lifespan. Proper air duct cleaning, whether DIY or professional, will allow you to keep your ductwork functioning properly for longer and ensure that your system operates as efficiently as possible.
3 - Air Duct Contaminants Need to be Removed
Just as your air filter will need to be regularly changed or cleaned to remove contaminants, your air ducts will also need to be cleaned to be free of pollutants. In fact, for some people, reducing these contaminants is one of the most important reasons to learn how to clean HVAC ducts.
Air Duct Cleaning Can Improve IAQ
Indoor air quality is essential to everyone in your household, but even more so for those who may have a problem with allergens, asthma, or other types of respiratory problems. Your cooling system can host a wide range of allergens and particles. Your ductwork may show signs of mold growth or caked-on debris if not properly cleaned.
If you know how to clean AC ducts yourself or have a service provider do it for you, you will keep your cooling system from spreading around dust and allergens that have settled and built up in your ductwork. When properly cleaned, you will enjoy cleaner air in your home and reduced respiratory problems.
4 - How to Clean your HVAC Air Duct DIY
Knowing how to clean air ducts is essential to maintaining your air conditioning system. Whether you have your cleaning professionally done or choose to do it yourself, it is crucial, even just for the health benefits of reducing pollutants such as dust, mildew, and dander.
When to Choose DIY Air Duct Cleaning
If you know how to clean air ducts, you may want to consider performing the job yourself. If you plan on doing it, it is best to perform the job before the warm weather season, so it will be ready to go when you start it up in the spring. You may also want to consider cleaning your air ducts if you have recently performed home renovations or installed a new HVAC system.
How to Clean Your HVAC Ducts DIY
One of the first steps in learning how to clean air ducts DIY is gathering the tools you will need for the job. You will want to gather tools such as
- A vacuum with a brush head
- Paper towels
- Air filters
- Painter’s tape
After you have gathered all your tools, you will need to follow a few simple steps to complete your DIY duct cleaning process.
- Remove loose dirt - If your ductwork is visible in a crawl space, you can lightly tap it to loosen the dust and debris. Then turn on the fan option on your thermostat, which will help move this loosened dirt to the vents.
- Turn the power off to your system -Once you have run the fan for a few minutes, you will want to turn your system off at the thermostat and the main panel. This will allow you to complete the process safely.
- Remove the vents - Pop out your vents or unscrew them so that you will have access to the opening. Wipe as far as you can reach using a paper towel. Then cover the vent opening with a paper towel and secure it with tape. This will prevent the dust and dirt from coming out into the room while you are cleaning.
- Clean the vent cover - Clean the metal or plastic grates that cover the vents by putting them into the dishwasher or wiping off the dirt with a damp cloth or brush.
- Clean the inside of each vent - Start one at a time, remove the paper towel from each vent, and insert your cleaning brush to remove anything stuck inside and loosen the rest of the dirt. Put the vacuum as far as possible and vacuum out the loosened dirt and debris. Once done, use a damp paper cloth to wipe the remaining residue from the inside of the vent.
- Clean the returns - Next, you will need to clean your returns. Start by throwing out the filter. Then use your brush, vacuum, and paper towels to remove the debris the same way you did with the supply vents. Put in a clean filter.
- Reattach the vents - After the vent grates have been cleaned and dried, reattach them over the vent openings.
- Clean your HVAC blower - Lots of dust will move around the system during the cleaning process, so cleaning the blower before starting your system back up is essential. Vacuum out the blower component with your vacuum's hose attachment and wipe it down with a wet paper towel before replacing the cover.
- Check your coils and other system components - During the cleaning process is an excellent time to look over the different components of your system to see if they have built up dirt or dust that will need to be removed.
- Turn your system back on - Once done cleaning turn your system back on and start enjoying cleaner air. Some remaining dust may come out when the system is turned on, but if it is excessive, you will need to turn off your system and vacuum the vents out again.
5 - What to Expect from Professional Air Duct Cleaning
Even if you know how to clean HVAC ducts, you may find it better to leave the cleaning to the professionals.
Why DIY HVAC Cleaning Isn’t Enough
Knowing how to clean air ducts isn’t always enough to get the job done. Sometimes DIY cleaning is not enough to remove musty smells or enough debris to eliminate allergens for household members who may suffer from asthma. If this is the situation in your home, you may want to consider a professional air duct cleaning service.
You may want to consider a professional for your air duct cleaning for several reasons. A professional will:
Have the Right Tools to Get the Job Done
Professionals will be certified and have the proper tools and training to remove dirt and debris even from the farthest areas of your ductwork. They utilize powerful vacuums to draw out debris that may not be easily removed with a home vacuum.
Be Able to Detect Specific Problems
An air vent cleaning company will have professionals trained in various aspects of HVAC systems. They will be able to diagnose particular issues before they become major ones and alert you to potential repairs needed with your ductwork.
Be Able to Clean the Entire Ductwork System
While DIY cleaning can remove a lot of the more significant amounts of dust and debris in your ductwork, it is unlikely that you will be able to reach the entire length of your ductwork. A professional can reach the farthest areas of your ductwork, where build-up can hide and lead to mold and mildew in your ducts.
Services to Expect from Your HVAC Cleaner
When you decide to have a professional clean your home’s air ducts, there are certain things you can expect from your service provider during the course of the cleaning process. The air vent cleaning professional should address all the door and access ports to the ductwork to ensure the entire ductwork system is cleaned.
They should also inspect the entire system during the cleaning. During this inspection, they will check for any problems or damage and possible asbestos-containing materials in the system. If any are found, they will follow the specialized procedures to avoid disturbing or removing it, leading to a health hazard.
Your professional duct cleaning company should also be sure to use special vacuum equipment that will vent the dust and debris outside of the home and use a HEPA filter when any exhaust is released into the house to ensure that pollutants are not released into the home.
They will also follow procedures to ensure that furnishings and flooring are properly protected from damage. You can expect your cleaning professional to use equipment that will be safe to use on fiberglass duct boards and sheet metals lined with fiberglass to prevent damage during the cleaning process.
The provider will also address any cracks, holes, or loose seals along the ductwork where energy can be lost.
- Knowing how to clean air ducts is essential for those who plan to maintain their HVAC system independently.
- Your duct system helps transport the cooled air from your air conditioner into your home and also helps push it through the filter system so pollutants and contaminants are removed.
- Clean air ducts can help improve the longevity of your HVAC system and the air quality in your home.
- Your air ducts are an essential part of your air conditioner and its function, which means they are equally important to keeping it cleaned and well-maintained.
- While you can perform your air duct cleaning independently, you may want to hire a professional service if you have mold growth or debris further in your system.
Superior Home Supplies Can Meet All of Your HVAC Needs
Knowing how to clean HVAC ducts is an integral part of maintaining an efficient system, and so is choosing the right HVAC system and components for your home. Whether you are a DIYer or prefer to have a professional handle your HVAC installations and maintenance, Superior Home Supplies has the systems, parts, and components you need to help keep your home comfortable all year round. Contact the experts at Superior Home Supples today to determine which system will best suit your needs.