The Basics Of Air Duct Cleaning

Many homes use central air conditioners to regulate temperatures and indoor air quality. When air circulates in your home through your systems, dust and debris accumulate in the ductwork. Though the filters prevent dust from circulating in the air, the system’s capability is limited.

With time, the constrained debris begins to accumulate inside the duct system. Then, the indoor air becomes unhealthy, and the blower wheel and evaporator can experience blockages that might restrict airflow.

In such a case, there might be no other alternative than to schedule air duct cleaning. This means cleaning the entire duct system using professional air duct cleaning equipment.

While homeowners can decide to clean the duct themselves, this procedure is better handled by professionals trained to use heavy machinery involved in the cleaning procedure.

When Should You Clean Your Air Duct?

Air duct cleaning is recommended after five years. Nevertheless, having the duct cleaned every three years might improve performance. Besides performance, you’re guaranteed fresh indoor air. Another reason to regularly clean your duct is too much air dust. You might also need to do this procedure regularly if you live with someone with a severe allergy, the indoor air smells awful, or someone in your home smokes.

What Equipment Is Used For Cleaning?

As already stated, duct cleaning involves heavy-duty machinery. However, other small hand-held tools like brushes are also used.

During the cleaning procedure, the cleaning professionals must access the ductwork from different points, rather than the intake and return vents, to do a thorough cleaning.

To create the access points, these professionals will likely drill small holes in the duct using drills and screwdrivers (don’t worry about the holes since they’ll be sealed). These entries will ensure the professionals inspect and clean every part of the duct.

Before the cleaning begins, the cleaners must assess the duct to understand its state. The inspection uses a camera system that provides real-time video of the ductwork. The inspection aims to assess the amount of dust and debris and check damaged areas that might allow air to leak. At this point, any required repairs are suggested and done accordingly.

Once the cleaners have determined the duct’s state and the amount of dust and debris they’re dealing with, they use vacuum tools such as mounted vacuum to suck debris out of the system into a collection tank outside your home. Then, they use manual brushes to scrub debris and dirt that might have gotten stuck in the duct. Also, air whips, skippers, and blowguns are used in ducts that require aggressive cleaning.

What’s The Cleaning Process Like?

The entire duct cleaning process can be divided into three steps: pre-inspection, cleaning, and walk-through inspection.

  • Pre-inspection: After arriving at your place, the cleaning professionals will assess the duct to understand what they’re dealing with and decide the best cleaning technique. After inspection, the cleaning begins.
  • Cleaning: After inspection, the cleaners will arrange the vacuum collection unit to ensure dust and debris don’t spread in your home. Once everything is set up, the technician will begin agitating the duct walls, removing pollutants like dirt and other debris.
  • Final walk-through inspection: After the cleaning process, the technician will perform a final inspection to ensure everything is done correctly.

Doing It Yourself

As stated, cleaning air ducts is better done by professionals. However, with an understanding of the procedure and tools used in it, a homeowner can still perform the work. In such an event, you’ll need the following:

  • Vacuum
  • Screwdriver
  • Cleaning supplies, such as rags and solvents
  • Brush

You might also need protective equipment like goggles, gloves, and a face mask.


Begin by vacuuming around the duct and removing the debris. Then, clean as far as possible using the cleaning supplies. You can also use a mirror or a camera to determine the areas that require cleaning.

You must check for loose connections within the duct and take the necessary steps. If after assessing the duct, you think it needs a deep cleaning, ensure to contact experts for a thorough, professional job.


Dirty air ducts put homeowners at risk of developing severe health issues from inhaling contaminated air. So, every homeowner needs to ensure their duct is clean and functioning optimally.

As stated earlier, hiring professionals to handle the task might be better even if this might be costly. This is because they’re trained and have the necessary equipment to perform a thorough procedure.

That said, a homeowner can still do the cleaning so long as they have the necessary tools and knowledge. If it’s time to clean your duct and you’re torn between DIY and hiring professional duct cleaners, assess your ability to do a thorough job and the advantages of hiring professionals. Then, base your decision on the findings.

Home Base Project Team
Home Base Project Team
At The Home Base Project, we offer practical, real-life tips and inspiration about DIY, decorating and gardening. The Home Base Project provide the best information about home renovation and design, connecting home design enthusiasts and home professionals across the world.