No matter how thorough a job you do at cleaning your home – dusting the baseboards and getting into every nook and cranny to sweep away dirt, dust and cobwebs – you have likely overlooked one of the most critical components of your home comfort: your HVAC system. The HVAC not only regulates the temperature of your indoor air, but it also affects the purity of the air you breathe. That’s why it’s essential for smart homeowners to make HVAC cleaning part of their routine maintenance checklist.
Cleaning an HVAC system involves the following steps.
HVAC systems often fall into the home maintenance category of “out of sight, out of mind,” but by keeping your system clean, you can protect yourself and your family from the perils of poor indoor air quality and help ensure the air you breathe is free of dust, pet dander, volatile organic compounds and other allergens. Who doesn’t want fresh, pure indoor air?
When you think about air pollution, you probably picture a car’s exhaust pipe or a factory smokestack belching clouds of dark smoke into the air. However, did you know the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that our indoor air quality could be two to five times more polluted than the air outside? To make matters worse, most of us now spend up to 90% of our time inside, breathing those recirculated contaminants. That’s why it’s vital to keep your HVAC system clean for your health and peace of mind. Consider the following benefits.
If anyone in your household lives with asthma, allergies or respiratory illnesses like COPD, preserving your indoor air quality should be an even higher priority. Common allergens that can inhabit your air ducts include mold and mildew spores, pet dander, pollen and dust mites. Even the healthiest people can develop congestion and other breathing problems when the air in their house is dirty. Help everyone breathe easier with routine maintenance.
When you walk through your front door, do you ever notice your home feels stuffy and stale? Over the years, stubborn odors from cooking, smoking and use of household cleaning products can get captured in the indoor air and stay there, making your home smell musty. A thorough cleaning of the air ducts will remove all these odor-trapping particles, leading to a fresher-smelling home.
Dirty air ducts will restrict the flow of cooled or heated air throughout your house. As a result, your system will work at less than peak efficiency, leading to premature breakdowns and higher energy bills. A clean system, on the other hand, will work at top capacity, providing you with more bang for your buck when the monthly bills come due.
If you’re handy around the home and have the appropriate tools and equipment, you can make air duct cleaning a do-it-yourself weekend project. DIY air duct cleaning can improve your indoor air quality, make your home healthier and save you a lot of money, if you’re confident in your abilities. Follow these straightforward steps to tackle this task on your own.
It defeats the purpose of doing a thorough cleaning if you send dust circulating all over your home. To complete this step, lift the grilles and cover the registers using either clean dust cloths or paper towels.
We suggest doing this immediately before cleaning the air ducts, as it will help break up the accumulated dust. Make sure to switch off the heat first, however.
You’ll want to remove the accumulated dust and other allergens on the registers. To do so, use the hose attachment on your vacuum cleaner or sweep out the dust and debris using a long-handled, stiff-bristled brush to reach deep inside the air ducts.
Using a screwdriver, remove the registers to access the inner workings of your system. You’ll need a brush with a longer handle to get at hard-to-reach areas.
After leaving the fan running for a few minutes, we always suggest shutting off all power to your HVAC system. That’s because it can be inherently dangerous to work with a unit that’s still running; risks include electric shock, among others.
Using your regular household screwdriver, detach the fasteners holding your air duct covers in place. Clean the gratings using a paper towel or washcloth. If you need to remove years of accumulated grime, you can do so with dish soap and warm water.
With the hose attachment on your vacuum, thoroughly clean out the dust and debris in your duct work. Use your long-handled brush to sweep away any mold or other contaminants you can see. Wipe the inside of the air ducts with your cleaning cloth or paper towel.
With the power to the system still turned off, remove the panels on the front of your furnace. Then, use your vacuum cleaner to get rid of dust and debris buildup inside the blower compartment. As you do so, take special precautions not to damage the furnace’s fan.
After a comprehensive air duct cleaning, always conclude the job by replacing the old, clogged filter with a new one. If you’re not sure what filter to use, or how to switch out filters, consult your owner’s manual.
Once you’ve finished cleaning your air ducts, visually inspect the system to verify a job well done. As you do so, you can use the checklist below to determine the thoroughness of your work. If you answer “no” to any of these questions, revisit those elements.
|General||Did you clean the entire heating and cooling system, including duct work, drain pans, humidifiers, coils and fans?|
|Heating Components||Is the heat exchanger surface noticeably clean?|
|Cooling components||Are both sides of the cooling coil clearly clean?|
When you shine a light into the cooling coil, can you see it coming out the other side?
Are the coil fins straight, not bent or pushed together?
Did you fully clean the drain pan? Is there adequate drainage?
Is there any remaining dust or debris on the blower blades?
Is the blower compartment free of visible dust or debris?
|Plenums||Can you see any dirt on the return air plenum?|
Do filters fit properly, and are they the highest possible efficiency recommended by your HVAC system manufacturer?
Is the supply air plenum (directly downstream of the air handling unit) free of moisture and contaminants?
|Ducts||Did you remove all visible debris from your duct work surfaces?|
|Fiberglass||Is all fiberglass material in good condition (free of tears and abrasions; well attached to underlying materials)?|
|Access Doors||When the system is running, is there little to no air leakage through access doors or covers?|
|Air Vents||Can you see any remaining dust or grime on the registers and grilles?|
Did you correctly reattach all registers and grilles to your floors, walls or ceilings?
|System Function||Does your HVAC work correctly in both the heating and cooling modes after cleaning?|
After you’ve cleaned your air duct system, you’ll want to prevent future contamination by following a sensible regimen of proactive maintenance.
To keep dirt from re-entering your system:
In addition to cleaning the system, homeowners should also take the appropriate steps to keep their ductwork as dry as possible. The presence of moisture from condensation and high relative humidity is a significant factor affecting the air quality inside your home, since moisture creates an ideal environment for mold spores and mildew to thrive.
To keep moisture from building up in your air ducts:
Now that you have a greater respect for the role your HVAC plays in your home, as well as an understanding of how to keep it clean for your family’s health and well-being, be sure to add routine maintenance to your home cleaning checklist. The tips we’ve outlined here can keep you and your family healthy, save you money on your energy bills and extend the life of your HVAC system by keeping it running smoothly.
And, if you need a partner in air conditioning repair and other HVAC services, be sure to call the professional team at Pileiro Heating and Cooling. As a certified Trane Comfort Specialist, we routinely exceed stringent standards of customer service and employee training, which means you can look forward to receiving the highest level of professionalism and quality when you choose to work with us.
Whether you require 24/7 emergency repairs, a system tune-up or a full replacement, we are happy to meet your needs all year long. Reach out to our friendly team today by calling us at 609-602-7796 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org