Today's modern houses need to be cost-efficient, in terms of energy used in the cold season to heat them, and to keep them cool, in the hot season. This is achieved by making them air-tight. The air in the house is circulated with the help of air ducts. Along with the circulating air, contaminants such as dust particles, smoke, mold, pet hair and dandruff, pollens and tiny oil particles from cooking, also move from one part of the house to the other.
All these things make one to take interest in cleaning these ducts. The few things that you will come across during the cleanup, it involves cleaning grilles and diffusers, supply and return egisters, heating and cooling coils, heat exchangers, drip pans, the air handling unit housing and fan motor and housing. The following is information on the cleanup and the tools necessary for it.
The following are the equipment or tools that you can easily find in your house to use in the task:
- Vacuum Cleaner and its accessories, such as brush and hose
- Hand gloves
- Paper napkins
- Cloth or rags
- Screw driver
- Hot water
- Lubricating oil
- Household cleaner
- 2 - 3 sponges
- Face mask
The state of cleanliness of the duct has direct impact on how healthy you are. It takes time to completely replace the existing air in the house, as the filtered fresh air comes through the duct of the heating and cooling system of the house. As a result allergens stays longer in the house than they normally would. This puts you at an additional risk of catching allergies. For this reason, you should consider giving the duct a cleaning. If you or any other member of the family is allergic or has asthma, then the cleanup on a regular basis is a must. You may also consider hiring professionals, if there is a sudden increase in the symptoms in any of your family members.
Cleaning the Grills
The ducts that open in the walls, floor and/or ceiling of your sitting room, study room, bedrooms, etc., have vent covers, return-air grilles or registers on them. Unscrew them using a screw driver, so that you can clean the ducts that are present behind them. Use few drops of lubricating oil on screws, if they are not easy to unscrew. Cleaning these grilles or registers is important, as they also acts as filters. During the filtration of the air, the allergens get stuck to them and invade the slits and the crevices present in them.
The allergens also get stuck in the pores of the material, that does the actual filtering of the air. Place the grilles or the registers on the newspaper, that is spread on the floor. Soak the rag in the hot water and clean them thoroughly. Soak a sponge in the household cleaner and clean the dirt off the grille or the registers. Put them in sunlight to get rid of the moisture or dry them using paper napkins. Use a vacuum cleaner to clean the dirt on the newspaper.
Cleaning the Duct
Use the vacuum cleaner, hose and the brush to clean the ducts. But be careful, as fishing them out in case they fall in, would be a task in itself. After this, wet a sponge in the household cleaning solution and clean their inside. Insert your hand as far as possible inside them. Don't forget to put on you hand gloves. The hand gloves will save you a cut or a scrape because of the sharp edges or screws present in the duct.
Remember to remove the furnace fats, which is especially, important in case of oil-fired furnaces, and clean the air conditioning system as far as you can. While cleaning coils, drip pans, fan motor and housing refer to the manual provided by the manufacturer and use the recommended products. If you suspect that the system is harboring mold inside, take a sample to a local microbiological laboratory. The lab will confirm whether the allergens are present or not. If they are, call in a reputed cleanup service, and ask them to spray effective disinfectants inside the system in order to eradicate the allergens.
Be assured that the time and money spent for cleanup are worth it, in the long as well as short-run. Along with the improved quality of air, there are also additional few advantage as well. It will help you protect your electronic equipment such as computer and CD player from the soot and the dust that enters a house with the air current. It will also help you in protecting your furniture from the mold spores.
As a last step in this exercise, give your home a thorough vacuum cleaning. Throughout the action don't forget to wear a good quality face mask, which is especially important if you yourself are allergic to dust. This cleanup job is a time-consuming affair and the size of your house as well as elaborateness of the work in it, are also important factors to take into consideration before committing yourself or setting the cleanup target for the day.