Ductwork Cleaning Is A Two-Step Process

Once you have made the decision to clean your ductwork, the next question is, what is the best way to go about it? Cleaning ductwork is basically a two-step operation. One step involves using a rotating brush or some other mechanical means to dislodge and loosen any dirt, mold or dust that is attached to the metal of your ductwork. The other step is removing the loosened dirt and mold from the system.

Proper cleaning requires a certain amount of planning, so you can be sure you spend the least amount of time and set up barriers so that, as you clean one section of ductwork, you don’t re-contaminate a section you already cleaned.

Ideally, you will have architectural of engineering drawings of the ductwork. Divide the ductwork into logical sections that can easily be blocked off, and that lend themselves to adding access doors to the ductwork so you can attach a vacuum hose. If the ductwork has been cleaned in this way in the past, access doors may already be present.

Once you have the basics set up, you can begin. Attach a high-power HEPA vacuum to an access point, creating negative pressure in that section of the ductwork. Insert the rotating brush and move the head along the length of the ductwork, knocking all the dirt off the inside walls of the ducts. The vacuum will suck it all out of the duct and into a separate collection chamber. If possible, direct the exhaust stream though a window or door to the outside.

To maximize efficiency, especially with larger ductwork, look for a vacuum system with sufficient power (at least 2,000 cfm airflow) to remove all the dirt you will be removing.

Once a section is done, remove the vacuum and close the access door, and close that section off with an inflatable bladder or other device, and move on to the next section. Simply repeat this process until all the ductwork is cleaned.

If you are concerned about mold or mildew forming again inside your ductwork, as you complete each section, coat the insides of your ducts with a biocide that will kill any remaining mold, bacteria and fungi. As a final step, you can also give a quick cleaning to your vents.

They’re Clean, So Now What?

Now that your ducts are so clean you could eat breakfast off of them, there are two easy things you can do to keep them that way. First, clean your furnace and air conditioner. There isn’t much point in cleaning your ducts if your furnace or air conditioner are still dirty. Second, filter your air. Make sure you have the best possible filter or your system in place,and that it is properly mounted in its frame so that no air can get past it.

While the EPA says that there is no evidence that cleaning your ductwork will result in better health, it stands to reason that cleaner air ducts will improve the quality of the air in your building.

Rich Silverman
Goodway Blogging Team

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