What exactly happens during a duct cleaning?

What exactly happens during a duct cleaning?

I get so many customers who say, “I had no idea how much was involved in this process!”  There are so many services in the marketplace where a company comes out to your home and they’re gone within an hour.  This is not the case with duct cleaning.  So, what exactly happens during a duct cleaning?  A normal duct cleaning takes anywhere from 3 to 8 hours depending on the size of the job, access to the furnace and ductwork and the layout of the home.

What a lot of customers don’t realize is that every return and supply duct must be accessed in order to do a proper cleaning.  We also need full access to the furnace as well as this is where most of the equipment is set up and where we gain access into the ducts for the vacuum.

When we come to your home, it is best that any vehicles that  be moved out of the driveway or the garage.  This is due to that we have large equipment such as pipe and hose that we hook up from our truck to your furnace.  We ask the customer to give us a quick overview of the home so we can locate all of the return and supply ducts.  We need about 3 feet around each vent to where a person can get in with tools to clean.  Before we begin work we shut the power of to your furnace and heat pump (if equipped).  The blower will be removed from the furnace and taken apart and washed with soap and water.  The blower is the heart of the system and by thoroughly washing with soap and water will significantly increase the efficiency of the system.  We will then hook up our vacuum line from the truck to the furnace.  Access will be gained into the ductwork and we will first pull a vacuum on your return air side of the system.  Drop cloths will be laid under the return air ducts where they are located in the home and a step ladder will be set up to remove the grill.  The grill will be taken outside and washed.  A compressed air line will be run from the truck into your home as our cleaning tools are powered by compressed air.  We begin cleaning the return air by brushing down whatever can be reached.  Depending on the type of duct, metal or plastic, we will then run a reverse air cleaning tool down the duct or a whip system which agitates the dirt and debris in your system that is then extracted by our powerful vacuum truck.  After all of the return air ducts are cleaned, we go back to the furnace and run the cleaning tools the opposite direction down the duct to make sure all of the dirt and debris has been removed.  The return air plenum will then be thoroughly cleaned.  Now that the return air ducts are all cleaned we will then hook in to the supply air ducts with our vacuum.  We start off the cleaning by going and covering the registers with paper until our vacuum is built up to be ready for proper cleaning.  Once proper vacuum is achieved we start at the farthest point away from the furnace and begin cleaning the supply duct system.  Cleaning will be done with our compressed air cleaning tools and reverse air nozzle.  Once all the registers have been cleaned we will go back to the furnace and run the cleaning tools the opposite way up the ducts and make sure all of the dirt and debris has been removed.  We then use our whip system to thoroughly clean the trunk line and plenum of the supply duct.  Once this cleaning is done we then thoroughly clean the blower compartment of the furnace and the air conditioning coil (if equipped).  Both sides of the coil are very thoroughly blown out with compressed air to loosen dirt and debris.  The coil will then be sprayed down with a self-rinsing, biodegradable coil cleaning agent.  This cleaning agent is very important as it maximizes the efficiency of the system.   At this point, the air system is clean and the access will be patched to the National Air Duct Cleaning Association and Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors association standards.  Before the blower is put back together, the motor will be brushed down and blown out to free it of any dirt that is stuck to the electronics.  It will then be wiped down with a degreaser to make it look like new again.  We will then put the furnace back together and check if for correct operation.  At this point, the duct cleaning is complete.

Although it is a bit difficult to narrate how a duct cleaning is done, I hope that this gives you a good understanding of what takes place you have your ducts cleaned.  Please take a look at some of the photos below of before and after cleaning if you’re asking yourself what exactly happens during a duct cleaning?.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog!  Follow us on twitter!  @AdvantageADC  Like our facebook page!  facebook.com/advantageADC


Nate Hollembaek


Advantage Air Duct Cleaning
4120 Scenic Drive
Eugene, OR 97404