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A Guide to DIY versus Professional Duct Cleaning

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Duct Cleaning, Health & Safety, Home Comfort, HVAC, Indoor Air Quality, Maintenance

Learn the pros and cons of DIY versus professional duct cleaning service, and the importance of annual maintenance to improve air quality and extend the life of your HVAC system.


Posted by Ryan | February 13, 2024

Keeping the air ducts in your home clean and free of dirt and other contaminants is crucial to improve and maintain indoor air quality and efficient heating and cooling.

Dust is brought into your furnace system via the intake air and can settle into the duct system and furnace itself. This means you may breathe in these additional contaminants, which could contribute to health issues in your home.

Duct cleaning should be conducted at least once a year, and as a result homeowners often face the dilemma of whether to just do it themselves or to hire professionals. In this blog, we’ll explore the pros and cons of DIY duct cleaning versus professional services, helping you make an informed decision.

3 images showing a clogged air vent, a woman sneezing and a hand wiping dust from a wooden table

What is Duct Cleaning?

Duct cleaning involves the use of specialized tools to effectively clear away any dirt, dust or other contaminants out of your duct system, allowing air to move freely throughout your home.

Duct cleaning can lower your monthly energy costs by maximizing the efficiency of your HVAC system, it can also improve your air quality by removing dust, allergens, pet dander, skin dander, pollen, and lint from your ducts, and it reduces the risk of asthma and side effects from allergies.

DIY vs Professional Duct Cleaning

Because duct cleaning should be done annually, you might be wondering if it’s something you can tackle yourself. Afterall, you can do it on your own time, without having to schedule an appointment.

The short answer is yes, technically duct cleaning is something you can do on your own. But remember, the effectiveness of duct cleaning is dependent on the method used and the specific condition of the HVAC system. 

If you do go the DIY route, here’s a quick overview of the steps:

1. Prep Work

  • Ensure you turn off power to your HVAC system.
  • Gather your vacuum, brush, clothes, a new furnace filter and a screwdriver.

2. Cleaning the Ducts

  • Use your vacuum cleaner to remove dust and debris from the ducts. The vacuum should have a long hose to reach as far into the ductwork as possible.
  • Using your brush to loosen any dust or debris that’s adhered to the duct walls. Be gentle to avoid damaging the thin metal of the ducts.

3. Cleaning the Components

  • Clean the air filters, coils, and fans with your brush and microfibre cloth. These parts accumulate the most dust and debris that can affect your HVAC system’s efficiency.
  • Clean or replace your air filters so air can move freely through them.

4. Observation and Maintenance:

  • After cleaning, turn your HVAC system back on. Once it’s running, carefully inspect your system and look for any issues such as unusual noises or performance issues.

Though it seems straightforward, it’s important to understand the limitations of DIY duct cleaning. This approach is generally good for surface-level cleaning and regular maintenance. However, it may not be effective for deep cleaning or addressing additional issues deep within your HVAC system, such as mold growth, heavy debris accumulation or equipment malfunction.

In this case, professional duct cleaning services, with specialized tools and techniques, might be necessary. Enter, Action Furnace!

4 images showing technicians manually cleaning ductwork in a home

Your Guide To Professional Duct Cleaning

Every year more than 15,000 Albertans invite us into their homes to clean their furnaces and ducts. Our experienced technicians will clean all of your vents, using high-compressed air, and a powerful vacuum that attaches directly to your furnace. This is the most popular method of cleaning due to its effectiveness and power.

But it’s not only our cleaning that sets us apart, it’s also our attention to detail from beginning to end. In addition to cleaning your ducts, your experienced heating technician will also thoroughly inspect your furnace looking for potential issues or signs of damage (including blower motor issues or gas leaks), they will also replace any and all filters. Afterwards, they will completely sanitize your ducts to eliminate any remaining bacteria or mold. Finally, another inspection ensures that the cleaning was successful and that there are no lingering issues.

Duct cleaning graphic with van and mascot

Regular Maintenance

No matter which way you decide to go, we can all agree that regular maintenance is crucial to maintaining your ducts between cleanings.

It’s important to check and replace your air filters at least once a year. A simple routine of replacing filters and annual inspections can go a long way in maintaining the integrity of your HVAC system. Adding a HEPA filter or an electronic air cleaner to your HVAC system can also help keep your ductwork cleaner between service calls.

Action Furnace is also proud to offer our Total Comfort Club membership to help make annual maintenance easier. For one low monthly price your annual maintenance will be prescheduled. You’ll receive an annual WOW! tune-up and duct cleaning with unlimited vents and an annual supply of standard furnace filters. Plus, you’ll enjoy front-of-the-line priority service and 10% off future furnace or duct repairs. Contact us today to learn more!

Breathe Easy With Action Furnace’s Duct Cleaning Service

Our team has been performing HVAC services since 1975, so you can trust we have the experience to get the job done right. With thousands of 5-star reviews and comprehensive, up-front quotes, you can trust us to handle your duct cleaning professionally and be transparent about the work involved.

Action Furnace’s duct cleaning services start at only $199, call us today to schedule your appointment!

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Written by Ryan Tutak

Ryan is considered one of Calgary's most knowledgeable residential HVAC specialists. Working in the industry for over 12 years, he's helped thousands of homeowners with their heating and cooling systems. Outside of running Calgary's most reputable HVAC business, you can find him on the Golf course practicing his short game or traveling with his family. His main goal is to create a positive collaborative culture, one in which his employees are excited to come in and are motivated to work hard. He spends the majority of his day working directly with Home Comfort Advisors, Service and Maintenance Technicians, and Customer Service Representatives ensuring they are fully prepared to lead the Home Service Industry in Customer Service.

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