Furnace Duct Cleaning Guide: Preparation & Process

Cleaning a furnace duct is a maintenance activity people assume to be difficult. However, the reality is quite different if you know just what to do.

The only way you can carry out a comprehensive furnace duct cleaning is by learning the ropes. This article serves as the perfect place to begin your learning quest.

Is Furnace Duct Cleaning Worth the Stress?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a furnace duct should be cleaned when certain anomalies are identified. These issues include the appearance of mold (mold growth) in your ducts as well as excess dust blowing out of supply vents.

Another reason why a furnace duct should be cleaned is the presence of insects and rodents in your duct.

Any of these issues is reason enough to call for furnace duct cleaning. So, whether you want to adopt the DIY approach or call a professional, the tips within this article should prove very useful.

What Furnace Duct Cleaning Entails

The mere mention of furnace duct cleaning alone won’t properly convey what it’s about.

In other words, you’ll need to have a better understanding of the processes involved. The entire ductwork of your home is cleaned by a professional.

Cleaning the ductwork involves vacuuming out debris and dust, in addition to other key components like the air handler blower, the heat exchanger and grilles as well as diffusers.

Additional components targeted during the cleanup process include ducts that connect to the air handler.

The Preparation Process

Before commencing your furnace duct cleaning task, certain preparations are necessary to help guarantee a smooth and successful procedure.

Such preparations include measurements, placing vent coverings, prepping your vacuum cleaner, as well as setting up your hand drill & agitation brush.

The last and final step has to do with carrying out the cleaning task itself. This is the main activity for which other steps earlier listed were geared towards.

Having laid out the process, it’s time to discuss each of these steps and what they entail.

  • Measurements

Are measurements necessary for a furnace duct cleaning job? This is an important question to ask and the answer is a resounding YES! Measurements are necessary to help determine the size of the agitation brush to use for the job.

The furnace duct is usually targeted for such measurements.

Here, the duct’s length and diameter are determined through measurement. Measurements must be accurate to avoid issues that may result from incorrect estimations.

Your home’s ducts should have the same height and width.

As such, measurements made should be applied across all ducts. Having satisfactorily completed the duct measurement process, moving to the next action aids with systematic preparation.

  • Placing Vent Coverings

Vent coverings simply refer to plastic wraps. These wraps are used to seal up duct vents. Now, before such vents are sealed up, vent coverings need to be removed or unscrewed.

Having unscrewed such coverings, plastic wraps or vent coverings are then placed over the openings.

Tapes or other forms of adhesives can be used to hold the vent coverings in place. One of the basic tools needed for this sealing job is a utility knife or any cutting tool.

Such tools enable you to easily cut your vent coverings into size.

  • Readying your Vacuum Cleaner

Furnace duct cleaning won’t be complete and thorough without a vacuum cleaner. While this is true, the vacuum cleaner needs to be readied for the job.

Prepping the vacuum cleaner simply refers to modifications that enhance applicability.

You’ll need to first pick a suitable suction center or vent from which a vacuum cleaner attachment will pass through. Having picked your preferred suction center, make a clean cut on the vent covering large enough to accommodate the upholstery attachment of your vacuum cleaner.

Now, insert the upholstery attachment into the hole at about 4-inch depth before holding it in place. Consider using duct tape as it should serve just fine to hold the upholstery attachment to the vent covering.

Of course, the other end of this attachment should be connected to the vacuum cleaner machine. The preparation process still isn’t completed yet. The next step is equally important as it involves another key tool.

  • Setting up your Hand Drill and Agitation Brush

The hand drill and agitation brush are additional tools required.

To set these up, getting the right whip cable length will be necessary. Remember, the measurement carried out earlier was also aimed at finding the right whip cable length for the job.

One end of the whip cable is connected to the hand drill while the other end is attached to one of the whip brushes to be used.

Having completed the necessary preparation for starting the furnace duct maintenance job, cleaning proper should commence without delay.

  • Cleaning the Furnace Duct

The first step to cleaning begins with the vacuum cleaner being put on. Next, insert your agitation brush slowly to a depth of about 10 inches.

An uncovered duct is needed for the agitation brush to be placed through.

With the agitation brush inserted into the open duct, the hand drill should be started. This commences the debris cleaning process. Accumulated dirt and debris within your furnace duct are brushed off while being vacuumed out by the vacuum machine.

The duct cleaning process (for a single duct) is completed once the whip cable has been fully stretched or extended. Simply turn off the vacuum cleaner and remove or retract the agitation brush.

The open duct vent is sealed up and the process is repeated for other ducts. This furnace duct cleaning process doesn’t take long, yet performs a thorough cleaning job.

Must I Go Through This Process?

When it comes to cleaning a furnace duct, the process discussed above is necessary. If this seems like too much work for you, you can contact an experienced technician nearest to your location.

A quick online search will turn up loads of results for you to choose from.

Furnace duct cleaning shouldn’t be a complicated process at all! This is seen in the simple guideline provided. You can commence cleaning immediately by using the basic tools mentioned above.

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