While the process typically involves an inspection and then thorough dirt removal, proper duct cleaning is not a do it yourself chore. Although it seems straightforward, this is a task best left in the capable hands of trained professionals. A professional will take the time to inspect the entire system before commencing with cleaning. This is important, not just for determining the levels of dirt and dust, but also to make sure everything is safe to handle. If there are any materials with asbestos in them, like register boots or insulation, the entire procedure has to be handled by a special contractor.
The furnace and vents come into contact with air that is distributed around the home, so these too must be taken care of in order for a duct cleaning to be effective. Debris can be distributed throughout a house through the supply registers if the ventilation pathways are particularly dirty. Changing filters when they need it can be one small action that contributes to the longevity of a heating and cooling system. There are many components in a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system. Each should be carefully tended to, including coils, drain pans, fans, and humidifiers. Checking the cooling coil for dirt is as simple as shining a flashlight at it. If no light is visible from the other side, it is in need of cleaning. There are access doors and ports that can be opened in order to facilitate easy inspection and maintenance of the parts that are not so easy to see.
How does one know if a duct cleaning is necessary? A quick glance is capable of revealing what a duct is in need of service. Ideally, there will be no visible dirt whatsoever. However, a lack of obvious dirt does not mean that the system is not in need of some type of maintenance. Some sections of a heating and cooling system may not lend themselves to easy visual inspection. For this reason, a casual glance cannot determine if a duct cleaning is necessary. Loose dust particles or mold are just two of the concerns that a dirty duct system can house.
A combination of vacuuming and brushing are used to dislodge and remove dirt. It is recommended that the vacuum that is used be high efficiency particle air (HEPA) equipment, or have an exhaust that blows outside the home. Household belongings, such as carpets, are protected during a duct cleaning to prevent the particles that are being removed from finding a new home elsewhere in the building. Sometimes a hole must be created in order to access hard to reach spots. When the process is complete, the ducts should be made airtight once again through re-insulation and the repair of any holes. Often times a deodorizer and soot sealer will be applied. The sealer locks down any small particles that may still be in the HVAC system, while the deodorizer combats any lingering scents.
Proper maintenance is important for the longevity and efficiency of any heating and cooling system, whether it is commercial or residential. Proper care can act as contamination prevention. Staying on top of HVAC system maintenance is a good method of improving indoor air quality.