Cleaning Heating and Cooling Ducts

Special oscillating vacuum cleaner brush being inserted into ducts for cleaning.
Oscillating vacuum cleaner brush being inserted into ducts for cleaning.

Over time dust, dirt, and other contaminants can accumulate in the ductwork of the central heating and cooling system in your home. Cleaning HVAC ducts is done by removing and cleaning the vent covers, then inserting a special oscillating vacuum cleaner brush into the ducts to dislodge and suck up the dust.

When all dust has been removed, the ducts are fogged with a disinfectant solution to kill any remaining biological contaminants. This same solution is sprayed on other surfaces that could harbor germs, such as vent grills.

The cost of duct cleaning varies widely, so make sure you get several bids. Once the system has been cleaned, be sure to install a high quality filter on the air return, and change the filter every 1-3 months.

Watch this video to find out more.

Further Information

Danny Lipford: During the cold winter months, most of us really keep our houses closed up very tightly. Now that can result in the air inside your home being more unhealthy than the air outside your home.

Now changing your furnace air filters on a regular basis really can help air quality in your home. But for many homes, the problem already existing within the air distribution system because of dust and contaminants.

Now the air passes through your filter and into your air handler unit. It’s heated and then distributed through your duct system through your home. If there’s already dust and contaminants within that system, even the best air filter won’t help you at all.

The solution is to have the complete system cleaned. Some heating and cooling contractors offer this service, but there’s other companies that specialize in duct cleaning.

The process begins by removing and washing the grills that cover the household vents. Dust and dirt are deposited here as air is forced through the vents. The air return area and air handling unit are thoroughly vacuumed to remove any dirt that has settled here.

The ducts are cleaned with a special device that uses an oscillating brush to pull itself through the duct. As the brush dislodges the dirt and dust, a high volume vacuum sucks it up. The duct cleaner works from the outermost vent locations back to the air handler.

Now when all the dust is gone, fogging the system with a disinfectant solution destroys the invisible contaminants. This solution is also sprayed on the vent grills and other surfaces in the system that could harbor germs.

Now after you have your ducts cleaned, make sure you use a good quality filter and change it regularly.


    • Hi, Jennifer,

      Danny says, “I would suggest using a professional heating and cooling company that offers duct cleaning as part of their services.”

      Good luck!

  1. In our housing development we find coupons for Vent Cleaning and HVAC Tune UPS in the “ValPack” advertisements envelopes. Be careful to count every vent. I counted 12, The Representative counted 18. You may also do a computer search for discounts and reviews.


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