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6 Common Air Duct Cleaning Methods

6 Common Air Duct Cleaning Methods
Everyone wants clean air at home, and air duct cleaning is an effective way to prevent dust and pollutants from circulating. You can sweep the floor or wipe a table or countertop without thinking much about it. However, cleaning ductwork is more complicated as air ducts are spread throughout your home.  There are several methods of cleaning debris from air ducts and sanitizing ductwork. Due to the complexity of the typical home HVAC duct system, we advise you to let a professional determine the best method to use and manage the process. The most common air duct cleaning methods include:  
  1. Mechanical Agitation
  2. Power Vacuuming
  3. Negative Pressure
  4. Steam Cleaning
  5. Chemical Cleaning
  6. Air Duct Sanitizing
 

1. Mechanical Agitation

Not all duct cleaning methods are mechanical. Nonetheless, there are several techniques an HVAC contractor can use to eliminate contaminants. They can use mechanically rooted brushes, compressed air nozzles, or air whips. Hand brushing is also a form of mechanical agitation that can clear duct walls of debris.  Small hand-held vacuums can be used as well. They are effective for contact cleaning. Point-of-contact cleaning is a type of mechanical agitation. It uses high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters to improve safety and prevent cross-contamination.

2. Power Vacuuming

Otherwise known as the air sweep method, power vacuuming uses suction to remove debris. It is more powerful than a standard consumer vacuum cleaner. The system can dislodge stubborn dirt and contaminants. Power vacuuming isn’t suited for every type of duct system; for example, it can damage delicate flexible ducting. Power vacuums come in different forms. Some of the most powerful ones are truck-mounted. These have air volume capacities of 10,000 to 15,000 cubic feet per minute. The truck can also have various other equipment, including rotary brushes to remove debris as it’s suctioned out. After removal, pollutants are collected and stored in a compartment within the vehicle. 

3. Negative Pressure

Negative pressure is an effective air duct cleaning method that uses a powerful vacuum system. By extracting air from ducts, the machine draws in dust, debris, and other contaminants without causing particles to become airborne. The entire duct system essentially turns into a large vacuum. The negative pressure method is often combined with other methods. These include air sweeping, which uses high-pressure air to blow contaminants out of the system. Compressed air can also be used. It breaks up buildup and directs it to the vacuum hose via a high-pressure stream. Together, these methods help eliminate moderate levels of dust and debris.

4. Steam Cleaning

To steam clean air ducts, a technician releases pressurized, heated steam via a specialized wand. This method is preferred for older HVAC systems. Steam can damage the electronic components often found in newer equipment.

5. Chemical Cleaning

A technician may use chemical cleaning solutions to break down or dissolve contaminants. These chemicals must be applied directly to duct surfaces and can take time to work. The contractor will introduce the cleaner into the ductwork and wait before it can be rinsed or wiped away. Chemical cleaning is more effective for removing microbial growth and organic matter than dust and dirt.  The downside is that, depending on the agent used, it can cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals or be harmful to the environment.

6. Air Duct Sanitizing

At Waldrop, we use natural air duct sanitizing agents with botanical compounds. These are not corrosive like other sanitizing products. Options include using hospital-grade antimicrobial sprays that work quickly to decontaminate ducts. They often require just one application. Ultraviolet (UV) air duct sanitizers can be installed directly in a duct system; bacteria and mold spores are neutralized as they pass through the UV light. However, other methods are needed to prevent the buildup of dust, dirt, chemicals, and non-organic compounds.

Call Waldrop Plumbing – Heating – Air for Professional Air Duct Cleaning

Our technicians are trained, licensed, and certified to use the latest air duct cleaning tools and methods. Whether your ductwork hasn’t been cleaned in years or you suspect an indoor air quality (IAQ) issue, our team can find the best solution. Professional duct cleaning can improve IAQ, eliminate odors, and extend your HVAC system’s life. It can also save money on repairs. To schedule an air duct cleaning in Greenville or Spartanburg Counties, or learn more about our ductwork repair and replacement services, call (864) 536-0887 today.
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Sammy

Greenville, SC

Five stars

Waldrop has taken care of our HVAC since our house was built (2006). We get maintenance twice a year – spring and fall. This year, Kevin suggested the Phenomenal Aire unit. It cleans the air

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Cheryl

Marietta, SC

Five stars

Had the best experience with Waldrop, we will forever be in their debt. Not only the most professional group of men but the most honest, stand by your word company! I would recommend Waldrop to

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KarmannGT

SIMPSONVILLE, SC

Five stars

A friend recommended Waldrop after he had a visit last week. Our A/C was not cooling as well as it should, and the Split “Smart” thermostat was doing crazy things on the first and 2nd

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