Air ducts are under the hood of most heating and air systems these days. Keeping that area clean is helpful to avoid dust, pollen, or other particles getting into your HVAC system. It also means keeping the evaporator coil on the inside of your home’s ventilation hood clean so it can work more efficiently.
A dirty A/C coil can make your system work harder and less efficiently, causing it to wear out faster. Here are some tips for keeping your air ducts clean.
Tip #1: Clean Your Dryer Vents
This one seems like a no-brainer since dryers push so much air through their vents. They should be inspected every year. Get your dryer vent hose cleaned if it has not been done in two years. You should also clean the lint tray at the bottom of the unit frequently, since that gets filled up with lint which should go into the air. That can trap heat inside and overheat your machine, causing it to wear out more quickly and possibly starting a fire.
Tip #2: Vacuum Out the Vent Hose on Your Furnace
Blowing your furnace’s vent hose off with compressed air is recommended. It’s also a good idea to remove the hose and clean it once or twice each year. Make sure you get all the leaves and other debris out of there.
You can also use a regular vacuum cleaner to get the inside of the vent hose clean, especially if it is metal. Be sure you get all the lint from around the sliding panels. If lint builds up in there, it will affect its ability to slide open and closed smoothly, wearing out the parts prematurely.
Tip #3: Inspect and Vacuum the Ducts in Your Home
You probably don’t want to put yourself on a ladder to clean out your ducts, but get someone else to do it with a vacuum cleaner hose if you can. If not, use a regular household vacuum cleaner and brush attachment to get the dust bunnies out. A small, handheld vacuum cleaner with a crevice tool can also work well in this situation, but it’s best to find a brush attachment that you can use for this job.
If you do not have a brush attachment on your regular vacuum cleaner, there are special tools made just for cleaning air ducts. You can get these at your local hardware or big-box home improvement store. These are very sturdy and come with a brush on one end and a flat scraping tool on the other end. The brush will loosen debris while the scraper pulls it out of the ducts to be sucked into your vacuum cleaner.
Then just wipe down the inside of the ducts with a cloth to make sure they are completely clean.
Tip #4: Use Duct Cleaning Services
Once every two to five years, or more frequently if you have pets or smokers in your home, it may be necessary to hire a professional company to clean and sanitize your ducts. Many air duct cleaning companies offer this service, which you can find by doing an internet search for “duct cleaning in (your town).” Always check references to make sure they are reputable.