DIY duct cleaning: Do You Need Professional Help?

DIY duct cleaning: Do You Need Professional Help?

Clean HVAC ducts help to improve the quality of your indoor air. You may be wondering if cleaning your home’s HVAC ducts can be done with a DIY approach, especially if you’re looking to save some cash and are familiar with doing home projects on your own.

Tips to know before you begin

Before you start a DIY duct cleaning endeavor, there are a few things you should consider.

  • DIY duct cleaning isn’t easy. If you’re not used to this type of work, it can take a bit of time to complete
  • DIY duct cleaning isn’t for the squeamish. You may come across mold, animal/insect droppings, and all sorts of other things – such as a dead animal.
  • If you decide to do DIY duct cleaning, you can make your ducts significantly cleaner and reduce dust.
  • Unless you have access to high-powered vacuums and rotary brushes that duct cleaning companies use. Without the right equipment, you won’t be able to achieve similar results as a reputable duct cleaning service like A-Abel.

What are the tools that are required?

  • Heavy duty gloves
  • Dust mask
  • Goggles
  • A screwdriver compatible with the screws on your registers and return-air grille plates
  • Paper towels or rags
  • A vacuum with a lengthy hose (such as a Shop Vac)
  • A stiff bristle brush with a long handle (like a toilet wand or rotary dryer vent-cleaning brush)

DIY duct cleaning: a step-by-step guide

  • Remove screws from air duct covers and return-air grill plates
  • Temporarily cover your supply air registers with paper towels or cloths. Lift the unscrewed register slightly up and tuck a towel underneath to keep the towel in place. This will ensure dust doesn’t enter your home as you clean.
  • Set your thermostat to the “fan on” position. The fan will help move the dust that you loosen when cleaning. Make sure the heat and cool mode is off. If you have an older thermostat (one without the “fan only” setting, run heat)
  • Loosen the dust in the ducts using the brush. A light tapping with the brush will loosen clumps of dust sticking to the inside of the ducts.
  • Uncover and lift one supply register at a time. Use the vacuum to suck up and dust blown out by the fan.
  • Clean the return-air registers, one-by-one with your brush and vacuum.
  • Clean each duct cover and grill plate before reattaching
  • Change out dirty HVAC air filters. You won’t get the benefits of clean ducts if you’re HVAC filters are clogged.


While you can improve your indoor air quality with a DIY duct cleaning, your efforts won’t be nearly as effective as a professional cleaning. You simply won’t be able to reach every nook and cranny that the professionals can get to.

If you think DIY duct cleaning isn’t for you, contact A-Abel to schedule an appointment with one of our highly trained HVAC technicians to get the job done right.

Save $15 off your next duct cleaning service!