Commonly Used Techniques for HVAC Vent Cleaning

hvac vent cleaning

When dust and debris start to accumulate, you know it is time to get the HVAC vents checked out. Your HVAC system is responsible for circulating and filtering air throughout the building, and, over time, the vents can become home to all sorts of dust, debris, and dirt. HVAC vent cleaning is not as simple as sticking a vacuum down a vent. For proper cleaning and vent maintenance, it is always recommended to bring in professional HVAC vent cleaning services.

Performing a Thorough Inspection

Before any tools are brought in, all ducts leading to the return and supply registers should be inspected. This is a quick and simple way to identify the level of buildup in the ducts and also confirm there is a different post cleaning. If you hire a professional and you can’t notice a difference in your ducts, chances are the clean wasn’t that thorough. The visual inspection is also an important step for professionals as they will be able to check for leaks and/or cracks. Many HVAC vent cleaning services will provide repairs and even replace any damaged ducting.

Dislodging Dust

The most important step of any HVAC cleaning process is removing the sources of contamination. A reliable HVAC vent cleaning professional will perform a thorough inspection of the vents to ensure no dirt and debris is stuck on the vent sides. While some technicians will do a drive by burst from an air compressor in an attempt to blow out debris, the best approach is to bring in rotating brushes, compressed air tools, and vacuum cleaners to ensure no dirt is left behind. In fact, using the quick burst method often has little impact and can even kick dirt back into the room.

Creating Negative Pressure

Most professional HVAC vent cleaning services will use large vacuum collection devices to draw dust, dirt, and debris out of the vents. This process relies on the creation of negative pressure to aid in collecting dust. The vacuum collection device will have a hose that is connected to a duct in close proximity to the air handler. You can think of an air handler unit (commonly known as an AHU) as the heart of an HVAC system. This is a device that is used to regulate and circulate air. The HVAC vent cleaning technician will cut an access hole for the hose and seal the joint as tightly as possible. Once sealed, the vacuum unit is turned on, negative pressure is created, and any particles inside the vent are sucked into the collection device. Creating negative pressure allows for the collection of very fine particles and loosened contaminants.

Performing a Full Clean

When performing HVAC maintenance, it is important to clean the entire system. This includes all registers, plenums, the air handler’s blower motor, drain pan, evaporator coil, and filters, to name a few parts. By performing a comprehensive clean, the technician is improving efficiency and helping extend the lifespan of the HVAC system. A thorough HVAC vent cleaning should take anywhere from three to four hours. If you bring in a professional and notice they are in and out within the hour, they likely performed a below average clean. The National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NDCA) recommends the following cleaning checklist for all HVAC systems:

• Air ducts

• Coils

• Drain pan

• Registers

• Grills

• Air plenum

• Blower motor and assembly

• Heat exchanger

• Air filter

• Air cleaner

Bringing in Professional Cleaners

HVAC vent cleaning is one thing you don’t want to try and do yourself. While you may think you have done a good job, there will likely be debris left behind and contaminants hidden in the vent. Not only does debris buildup reduce the efficiency of your HVAC system, but it can also lead to health and safety risks. When hiring a professional service, you should look for up-to-date certifications and experience. Don’t be afraid to request a quote, either. Asking for an estimate is a standard practice, and you should always shop around for the best deal. Keep in mind that cheaper does not always mean better quality. Read up on a service before making the call to get a good idea of their reputation and qualifications.