Your home’s air quality is a critical part of both good health and well-being for you and your loved ones. Like all air duct systems though, the one in your home is constantly accumulating millions of dust particles. Some contain pollen, while others contain spiderwebs, pet hair and other allergens. Worst of all, mold spores can accumulate and spread if your HVAC vents and ducts are left uncleaned.
Cleaning your vents and air ducts regularly ensures your HVAC system saves energy and operates at maximum efficiency. Moreover, it can also dramatically improve air quality if the system hasn’t had a cleaning in a while. The National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) recommends that HVAC air ducts be cleaned between every three and five years to maintain them in good condition. The more frequently you clean them though, the better your air quality year-round. This raises an important question: should you attempt to clean ducts yourself, or hire a professional to ensure the best quality cleaning? Read on to learn more.
DIY vs. Professional Help
Some homeowners decide to try and save a little money by cleaning their air vents and ducts themselves. It’s not an inherently bad idea, provided it hasn’t been too long since the ducts have been cleaned.
If you do decide to go this route, here’s what you will need:
- High-powered vacuum (shop vacuums are preferred for this kind of work).
- Cleaning brush
DIY Air Duct & Vent Cleaning
- Shut off your HVAC system power.
- Remove all air duct covers, vents and grilles from the walls using a screwdriver.
- Brush dirt, dust and grime off of the removed vents. You may need to use soap and water if they are especially grimy. Allow them to dry thoroughly before replacing them.
- Use your shop vac to clean out the ducts as much as possible. If your home vacuum or shop vacuum isn’t up to the task, you may want to consider renting a commercial vacuum used for cleaning HVAC systems. These vacuums have hoses and cleaning rods that can reach further into your HVAC ducts, and they often include specialized brush attachments for more thorough cleaning.
- Clean ceiling vents using a broom if your vacuum cleaner won’t reach. It’s also a good idea to wear a dust mask with safety glasses in the event that your air vents and ducts haven’t been cleaned in a while.
- Once everything is cleaned to your satisfaction, replace all covers and hand tighten screws to avoid overtightening.
When To Call In The Professionals
This is a description of an ideal situation for cleaning HVAC ductwork and air vents. If it has been years or even decades since everything was cleaned, your home equipment may not be able to cut it. Even if you rent equipment, cleanup is going to be messy, to say the least. Should you open up vent covers or inspect your ductwork and find you are not up to the task, it’s time to call the pros. Why call in a professional? Here are several reasons why you should call in the pros when the job is too big for you and your home vacuum or shop vacuum:
Reasons You Should Hire Professionals
The most obvious reason to hire a professional to clean your air vents and ducts is so you don’t have to do it yourself. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, here are some excellent reasons to hire a professional when cleaning vents and ducts yourself is out of the question.
- Higher Quality Work
When you clean HVAC systems for a living, you already have all the equipment and experience to ensure a thorough cleaning. Professionals have high-tech equipment that is purpose-built for the task at hand, and there is no job either too big or too small for their gear to handle. They also have equipment that can show you before and after images of your HVAC, ensuring that it is clean and undamaged. That peace of mind is worth its weight in gold, and you know you’ve gotten your money’s worth.
- Prevent Accidental Damage To Your HVAC System
Most people who’ve never cleaned an HVAC system do not realize how easy it is to accidentally damage ducts and vents. Stripped screws, punctured and broken ductwork, and tears are all extremely common mishaps when cleaning an HVAC system. It’s far better to hire a professional to do the job.
Not only are they less likely to damage equipment, but they are also bonded, licensed and insured against accidental damage. Better to hire a pro than make an expensive mistake yourself and pay the deductible on your homeowner’s insurance.
- Save Money On Energy Costs
You may not notice savings immediately; however, after a thorough professional cleaning, your energy bills should start to decrease as your HVAC requires less energy to heat and cool your home. Increased airflow through clean ducts and vents allows your HVAC to operate at maximum efficiency, and that efficiency leads to saving cash every month.
- Add-On Services
While your HVAC professional is cleaning your ducts and vents, they can also take care of other important HVAC maintenance tasks. Changing filters, mold remediation, dryer vent cleaning, chimney sweeping and more are all available. Better still, they can be bundled into a service package during a single visit, allowing you to give your heating and cooling system an overhaul in one day. If you’ve had other similar projects on the back burner, you can cross those items off your list when you get your air vents and ducts cleaned.
All in all, having your air ducts cleaned by a professional is a much safer and smarter choice than taking the DIY route. They have all the right equipment and their work is insured. Pros also have the knowledge and experience to safely and thoroughly clean your entire HVAC system. Best of all, they can take care of any related cleaning that needs to be done while they are cleaning the HVAC ducts and vents.
If you don’t know when your last HVAC cleaning was, or you know it’s been at least three years, don’t wait. Call a licensed and bonded professional today to get your HVAC cleaned and inspected. Then sit back and reap the benefits of clean air vents and ducts for years to come.