Cleaning the air duct is a thorough process of eliminating all the dust, debris, and mold build-up in your duct system to ensure a clean and healthy environment at home. Expert technicians have determined that it would take three to five hours to finish cleaning the air duct system, including the return side, supply side, blower compartment, blower wheel, and the return drop.
However, the specific amount of time it would take to finish the cleaning depends on the size of your HVAC system and the cleaning service provider’s processes. Do not believe other companies when they say that air duct cleaning requires a short time. This would only mean that they do not have a comprehensive process of cleaning your HVAC system.
When the air duct system is serviced properly, it would improve your home’s air quality, lower the electric bill, and prevent mold build-up, which could lead to a stinky smell in your HVAC system.
The Process of Air Duct Cleaning
Let us know what happens in an air duct cleaning and why it takes so much time to finish. Below are the steps that cleaning companies follow in servicing air ducts.
Step 1: Inspecting the Air Ducts
The first step in the cleaning process is a visual inspection of the return and supply registers. This simple step is essential to assess how much buildup you need to clean and confirm the difference after the ducts have been cleaned.
Your hired duct cleaning contractor may also provide a thorough inspection to see farther into the ducts and show the full extent of dirt buildup they would be cleaning. They do this by using special cameras to reach small and tight spaces into the ducts.
You should have a professional duct cleaner do a visual inspection to identify potential leaks in the ductwork. Most duct cleaners, experts in the field, also repair and replace damaged ductworks upon cleaning.
Step 2: Creating Negative Pressure
The next step includes using a large, portable, or truck-mounted vacuum collection device to suck out every debris and dust from the air duct. But before doing so, the technician needs to perform some preliminary steps.
The first is to hook the vacuum collection device hose to a duct close to the air handler, the central part of the HVAC system. Then the technician needs to seal each register using an adhesive cover. This part is essential in ensuring that the vacuum can do its job sucking all the dirt in the air duct.
The technician can now turn on the vacuum unit once done with all the preparatory steps. The negative pressure produced by the vacuum would suck or loosen all the dirt buildup in the ductwork.
Step 3: Removing the Dust
Once under negative pressure, the technician can now uncover each register and clean them one at a time. The time spent cleaning these registers distinguishes experienced companies from the new ones.
Improperly trained technicians in new companies would simply clean and disinfect the ductwork in a short time and without much effort. Legitimate and expert technicians would spend a long time cleaning. They use special tools like rotating brushes, compressed air tools, and vacuum cleaners to ensure that all dust and dirt are sucked into the vacuum collection device.
Step 4: Cleaning the Rest of the System
The last step involves cleaning the rest of the ductwork and all HVAC system components such as the air handler’s blower motor, evaporator coil, and drain pan. You would also want to consider changing the filters to further improve the air quality at home and increase the efficiency of the HVAC system.
Knowing When is the Perfect Time for Air Duct Cleaning
There are various indicators you should look for to determine if it’s time for another air duct cleaning. The best way to know is through a visual inspection where you or an HVAC repair professional looks at the ductwork and assesses if it needs cleaning or not. The indicators are as follows:
Suspected Mold Build Up in Your Air Duct
It is easy to recognize mold, as it has its unique musty smell that would never go away. If you’ve been noticing an unpleasant smell at home with no idea where it came from, it must be mold lying somewhere in your air duct.
A Visible Cloud of Dust Appearing at the Supply Registers
One obvious sign an air duct needs cleaning is the visible collection of dust and black debris at your supply registers. When you notice the air filled with dust expelled from the ducts or the air filter having extensive dust build-up, thorough cleaning is needed immediately.
Removing dust is common in any cleaning process and needs to be dealt with immediately, so our air duct and all heating and cooling equipment would work at their best.
Ducts are Infested with Pests or Insects
Pests and insects love dirty and dark places like your duct area. If you hear some buzzing or scratching sound behind your walls and ceiling, it might be the rodents playing at your ductwork. Or it might be insects going in and out of the ducts, making it their breeding place.
If this happens, you need to have your ducts cleaned to prevent these pests from producing more dirt and damaging parts of your ductwork.
Rising Energy Costs
It is easy to spot when your electric bill has spiked up from its previous numbers. Even though it does not give the same value each month, the bill is pretty predictable. When the ductwork became so dirty, the air wouldn’t flow efficiently in the HVAC system. This means your heating and cooling equipment would need to work harder, therefore consuming more energy.
Furthermore, leaks in the ductwork mean more consumed energy, decreasing the equipment’s efficiency and increasing your monthly bill.
Cleaning the ductwork is an important task that only expert technicians can handle. It should take a long time as the cleaning process is not as simple as wiping off the dirt. Some precautions need to be followed, and equipment used that only legitimate duct cleaning companies can offer.