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DIY Air Duct Cleaning

Posted on The Cooler Blog May 1, 2013 by Terry Jones

To ensure the air you are breathing is good quality, clean your air ducts regularly. Not only does this improve your indoor air quality, it also reduces the dirt that can cause wear and tear on the system components. Follow these necessary steps to clean the air ducts in your home.

Items Needed:

  • Vacuum. An all-purpose “Shop-Vac” vacuum is recommended, but a normal household one will work fine.
  • Furnace Filter. You will need a brand new filter after this job has been completed.
  • Brush. You can either use a paint brush with stiff bristles or toilet brush.
  • Paper Towels. If you’re going to sweep and dust after cleaning the ducts, you can skip this item.
  • Hex Driver or Screwdriver (usually ¼”). Some of the registers might be sealed with screws, but a screwdriver usually does the trick.

Step 1. Use a paper towel to cover the supply air registers. This helps keep the dust down while working. Open the register, wrap the paper towel around it and close it.

Step 2. Adjust the thermostat setting to “fan on” and turn off the “heat / cool” mode. This ensures that the fan is the only thing running while cleaning.

Step 3. Double check that the filter is in place before starting. This ensures that any dust that gets shaken loose will not get sucked into the fan motor.

Step 4. Shake loose any dust that built up in your duct work. Use your brush handle on any duct work that is accessible in your basement; this breaks apart sections of dust that have become hard on the sides of your ducts.

Step 5. Sweep the dust out of the supply registers. Lift the register cover with your hose running close to the opening and sweep into the piping. Catch the dust that is blown out by the fan with the hose. Remove dust build-up in the register with the brush and throw away the paper towels from the registers after cleaning each one.

Step 6. Sweep out all of the return air registers. Open any registers that are closed with a screw. As in step 5, sweep back as far as you can reach into the piping of the register.

Step 7. Turn off the fan at your thermostat. Turn off the power to your furnace by using the breaker panel or service switch. It is essential that you do not only turn off your thermostat.

Step 8. Once the power is turned off, access the return air boot and the blower compartment by removing the front panels of your furnace.

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