Air ducts get dirty. If a home HVAC system were run 24 hours a day, it would circulate an average of 40776.25909 cubic meters of air each day. That’s 48987.976 kg every 24 hours.

A home HVAC system can circulate up to 48987.9 kg of air every day

That means that all of the contaminants and unexpected debris gets circulated right along with the oxygen. Unsurprisingly, those contaminants accumulate throughout your air ducts. This can have a detrimental impact on the indoor air quality of your home or building.

Why Clean Your Own Ducts?

Improving indoor air quality is the most common reason building- and homeowners contact an air duct cleaning service, according to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety.

Common types of indoor air contaminants:

  • Carbon dioxide
  • Ozone
  • Dust, fibreglass, asbestos, and other particulates
  • Toxic vapours and gases
  • Dust mites
  • Fungi, mould

Improving air quality is the most common reason for air duct cleaning

Several of these contaminants can impact your health in many adverse ways. They can also drive up your energy bills. Considering that the cost of utilities has been trending upwards for several years, that alone is reason enough to look into cleaning out your air ducts.

Today, we’re going to show you how to conduct your own do-it-yourself air duct cleaning and sanitation so you can breathe easy.

Dry eyes are one sign it's time to clean your air ducts

When To Clean

First of all, how do you know when it’s time to clean your air ducts? Poor health is one sign your HVAC system could be contaminated.

Some common health problems associated with poor indoor air quality include:

  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Dry eyes, nose, and throat
  • Allergies
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sinus congestion
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness

If you’re experiencing one or more of these symptoms and are having a hard time shaking them, it’s a good sign your HVAC is due for a cleaning.

Now let’s show you how to clean your ducts, to return your air quality to its pristine state.

Determining what type of ducts you have is the first step to DIY duct cleaning

Step #1: Assess Your Ducts

Air ducts come in many different shapes, sizes, and configurations. Some run overhead while others run beneath your floorboards. How your ducts are configured will impact how you go about cleaning them, but the overall principles are the same, regardless.

However your HVAC system is set up, there’s likely going to be lengthy stretches of ductwork that are hard to reach, no matter what duct cleaning equipment you’re working with. If you’re trying to get every last particle of dust, dirt, and contaminants, consider seeking a professional duct cleaning service.

A vacuum is the most important air duct cleaning tool you can have

Step #2: Gather Your Supplies

Before you begin, you’ll want to gather everything you’ll need to clean your ducts thoroughly. You don’t want to leave your air ducts open for longer than necessary, especially before you’ve cleaned your system. You run the risk of flushing your home or business with all manner of contaminants if you leave your filters off for too long.

Equipment You’ll Need To Clean Your Air Ducts

  • Furnace Filter – Dirty filters are one of the most common reasons for HVAC cleaning. Make sure to have fresh, clean filters to put on when your job is done.
  • Vacuum – A shop-vac style vacuum is best for cleaning your ducts, but a standard home vacuum can serve in a pinch. Having the right vacuum is one of the best reasons to consult a duct cleaning specialist in Ottawa.

Professional duct cleaning companies have specialized equipment with heavy-duty hoses that can reach every nook and cranny and get every speck of dust and contaminants.

  • Brush – You’ll need a brush to unstick any stubborn contaminants clinging to your air ducts. Something resembling a toilet brush works best, but any stiff bristle brush should do.

There is nothing more frustrating than having to stop what you're doing to search for a tool

  • Screwdriver or Hex Wrench – Your grate covers are attached with something. You’re going to need some kind of screwdriver to remove these grates to access your air ducts. It’s best to have both a regular screwdriver as well as a Phillips head on hand before you begin. There’s nothing more frustrating than having to pause and search for a tool when you’re in the thick of a project.
  • Paper Towels – You’ll also want to have some paper towels on hand for when you’re finished. We recommend using paper towels, as they’re likely to get very dirty. You don’t want to ruin your cloth towels.

Step #3: Cover Your Intake Vents

Intake vents are the coverings you find on the floor that provide central air to your room. You’ll need to cover that vent with a towel or covering of some kind. Otherwise, you’ll just keep pushing dust and contaminants from room to room.

Step #4: Run The Fan

Set your furnace to ‘Fan On’ once you begin cleaning your air ducts in earnest. You’ll need to flush all the dust from throughout your HVAC system. If your thermostat doesn’t feature a ‘Fan Only’ mode, you can run the heat to achieve a similar result.

Step #5: Check Your Filter

Once you begin cleaning your system, you’ll want to make sure your furnace filter is in place. Otherwise, you run the risk of dumping all of that dust straight back into your HVAC system, counteracting all of your hard work.

When you’re replacing filters, bear in mind that your HVAC system has different demands placed on it with each change of season. Using season-specific filters will help your HVAC system manage these different demands and provide your home with the freshest, cleanest air possible.

Cleaning your HVAC system dramatically improves the indoor air quality of your home or building, so you can truly enjoy being there. It’s recommended you clean your air ducts every 3 to 5 years. If you don’t have the time, the tools, or the confidence to clean your ducts yourself, you can always seek a duct cleaning company in Ottawa. We’d be happy to do it for you!

Looking For HVAC Services In Ottawa?

Dr. Duct has been providing Ontario with the highest-quality HVAC services for over a decade. We’re a family-owned and operated business that takes great pride in treating our customers with world-class service, using the latest equipment and techniques.

If you’re ready for world-class air duct cleaning services, contact us today to set up an appointment!