Many people receive advertisements from professional air duct cleaning companies. These warn us of the dust, mold, and allergens that may be lurking in the ducts that deliver heat and air conditioning to our home. There is no reason to pay hundreds of dollars for this service when you can do it yourself for much less money.
You will need:
Step 1: Experts recommend that air ducts be cleaned annually. However, they should be dusted every few months. To identify whether cleaning is needed at other times, check to see if ducts emit dust or debris when the heater or air conditioner is running. Also, look for indicators of pest infestations or mold growth.
Step 2: If you plan to do regular air duct cleaning, purchase an air compressor and duct-cleaning vacuum. Otherwise, save money by renting this equipment from a hardware store.
Step 3: Place the tarp underneath the vent to prevent debris from landing on the floor. Put on the goggles and dust mask and cut two panels with the utility knife to access the ducts. One hole should be cut inside the main supply and the other should be cut in the main return line near the furnace. Seal all of the vents to create negative pressure and attach the duct cleaning vacuum to the holes. You may need to use the ladder to reach the vents. Open one vent at a time, cleaning the extra debris with the air compressor while working back to your furnace. Reseal the vent. Repeat the cleaning process with each vent.
Step 4: Reseal the panels cut in Step 3.
Step 5: Fill the sink with warm water and some mild detergent. Place the air vents into the sink, scrub them with the brush, and let them air dry.
Step 6: If you are comfortable with cleaning the cooling coil, drain pan, blowers, and motor of the heating and cooling system, do it, using the air compressor as needed. Otherwise, have a professional clean these components. This prevents the newly-cleaned ducts from blowing dirty air.