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How I Clean My Air Ducts Myself

By Edited May 27, 2016 1 6

Hire An Air Duct Cleaning Business Or Do It Yourself?

I think I started to notice that my air ducts needed cleaning when I started having trouble breathing several times a week. My last visit to the emergency room due to my asthma acting up was a loud, clear wake up call for me. The levels of dust in my home were nearly astronomical, especially when I would turn on my central air conditioning unit. I looked up National Air Duct Cleaning services, and didn't think that hiring someone would work out for my situation. Unfortunately, I couldn't afford to hire a contractor to do the job for me, so I asked myself, "Can I Clean My Air Ducts Myself"? I had to; the air duct cleaning cost was astronomical. I couldn't pay for an air duct cleaning service and couldn't continue to go to the doctor each time my allergies began to act up, so I decided to clean my own air ducts and I am so glad that I did. It was faster and easier than I thought it would be.

I put on a breathing mask and gloves, and got ready to get to work. I removed the cover of my air ducts, and was grossed out by what I saw. My air ducts were covered by a thick layer of dust and other unidentifiable particles, and some places had what appeared to be mold. I used a flashlight to help get a better view and was relieved that I didn't have to deal with an infestation of mice or rats. The mold didn't seem to have spread in too many areas, which was a good thing. Even after looking inside the ducts with a flashlight, it looked like a simple and clear cut case of too much dust in my air ducts. Of course, I couldn't see the full length of the ducts, as they twist and turn throughout the house, but I could see pretty far down. If what I saw is a good indicator of what's all over, I think I'm in okay shape.

I started by using my vacuum to get inside of the ducts. I used the longest crevice tool attachment that I had, and it got in at least a good 4 or 5 feet down inside. I had considered adding the brush attachment, but I was afraid that it might get lost if it came off of the crevice tool. Going from room to room, it probably took me a good two hours to get everything cleaned and vacuumed up properly. When I was done vacuuming, I used a long fluffy duster, which I normally use to remove the dust from my ceiling fan. This added a bit of texture and helped to remove any stubborn mold or dust that continued to cling to the inside of my air ducts. Afterwards, I took the duster outside and shook it well, and I'm glad I did- because it was absolutely covered in dust. When I was done, I went over the insides once more with the vacuum just in case anything became dislodged with the duster.

I cleaned the air duct covers with warm, soapy water and set them out to dry thoroughly. Once they were dry, I replaced them back where they belonged. It looked cleaner, it felt cleaner and it smelled cleaner in my home. The job took less time than I thought, and was actually easier than I thought it would be. I had actually considered replacing my air ducts, because I thought it might be faster, but this was quick, cheap and effective. If I can do it, anyone can replace their own air ducts, believe me.

The results of my cleaning were so good, and my breathing got so much better that I promised myself I'd do this more often. Now, I clean my air ducts myself on a regular basis and enjoy the benefits of breathing air that is clean and has much less dust in it. There will always be dust particles and things in the air that we don't want to breathe in, but at least it won't be purposefully blowing at me from inside my own home.

Air Duct Cleaning

You can clean your own air ducts.


May 3, 2011 12:47pm
Excellent article on cleaning air ducts. Changing the filters more often than usual helps keep dust down too. I change mine once a month. ^5
May 3, 2011 3:51pm
Once a month? Wow- that's more dedication than I have! :)
May 4, 2011 6:55am
Good article. What are the inside of the ducts supposed to look like?
May 4, 2011 8:21am
While I'm sure there will be some variance depending on the manufacturer, at a minimum, the ducts should look clean and be free of debris. Before I cleaned my ducts, they were literally covered in dust. I was shocked to know that there was a shiny silver finish underneath all the grime!
May 7, 2011 6:55pm
Thanks. Looks like I will be giving this a try since mine look fuzzy on the inside - not shiny metal.
Jun 29, 2011 11:32am
I just re-cleaned my ducts recently. The air seems to much... cleaner now. It's a pain in the neck, but well worth the time and effort.
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