Air duct cleaning: Effective methods and procedure


Heavy stale air is depressing both physically and mentally. Not only the general microclimate of the dwelling, but also the well-being of household members largely depends on the purity and composition of the air in the room, right? But ventilation does not always help to establish air exchange: due to blockages in the general ventilation duct or the ventilation pipe of the additional exhaust system, the draft may drop significantly, after which the circulation of air flows will not pass properly. Routine air duct cleaning is an important procedure, on the quality and regularity of which the health and even safety of residents depends.

In this material, we will consider the reasons why you should not neglect the maintenance of the ventilation system, talk about effective ways to clean ventilation ducts and air ducts, and figure out if you can put the ventilation shaft in order yourself.

The content of the article:

  • Why is air duct cleaning necessary?
  • Types of air duct pollutants
  • The most polluted ventilation units
  • Signs of the need to clean ventilation ducts
  • Methods for air duct cleaning
    •   Method # 1 – mechanical cleaning
    •   Method # 2 – dry cleaning with foam
    •   Method # 3 – combined cleansing method
    •   Method # 4 – cryogenic blasting

Why is air duct cleaning necessary?

Undoubtedly, clean air is one of the foundations of human life. Natural and forced ventilation promotes air exchange in the room, making the stay in the apartment comfortable and safe.

However, an increase in the amount of mud deposits inside the air ducts inevitably leads to the migration of debris and pathogens into the housing itself. Unwanted particles move into the apartment and imperceptibly poison the health of all residents.

And after removing dirt from the walls of the mine and effective disinfection, the air entering the apartment does not bring with it harmful suspensions or pathogenic bacteria. Natural ventilation and forced draft systems work more efficiently and the equipment itself is subject to less wear and tear.

Ventilation pollution is fraught with extremely undesirable consequences

  • Increase in the level of fire hazard due to the accumulation of enough combustible particles: dust, cobwebs, layers of fat.
  • Reduced efficiency of air inflow and outflow due to a decrease in the diameter of the duct.
  • More rapid wear of ventilation devices due to increased load on motors and constant overheating of working units.
  • Accelerating the formation of subsequent mud deposits: in every place where even a small amount of debris has accumulated, new mud will settle faster.
  • Deterioration of the general microclimate in the room due to poor air circulation, increased humidity and the usual temperature.
  • Negative impact on human health due to an increase in the number of pathogenic bacteria, fungi and allergens.

In addition to the direct effect on health, dirty air with a low oxygen content provokes a decrease in performance, accelerates fatigue. Therefore, it is necessary to clean ventilation ducts not only at home: in offices and other rooms with a large number of people staying, it is necessary to carry out routine maintenance activities and disinfection more often.

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Types of air duct pollutants

Exhaust and supply air ducts and ventilation ducts are the main links of the ventilation system that require careful maintenance.

Cleaning methods for household ventilation ducts are highly dependent on the types of pollutants filling the air ducts.

The main ones remain:

  • ordinary dust and dirt entering the room and mine from the street;
  • Rust and other deposits that can become concentrated on metal surfaces over time due to increased moisture levels
  • fungi and mold;
  • plaque from water, which is formed due to the movement of moist air masses or the formation of condensation when the air temperature drops;
  • fatty deposits, the source of which is the heat treatment of food;
  • colonies of microorganisms developing in a favorable humid environment.

In specialized institutions, for example, laboratories or production workshops, particles of reagents or chemicals can settle on the inner surface of ventilation units, which, due to their nature, require a special approach to neutralization and disposal.

A separate and rather complex subtype of pollutants is sediments after a fire or flood. Combustion products require immediate removal from the mine and air ducts, since inhalation of these substances has a very detrimental effect on human health.

The consequences of the flood are equally insidious

the abundance of humid air and condensation contribute to the growth of fungal colonies inside the ventilation system. Spores easily move through the air ducts, penetrating into living quarters, after which the development of mold continues directly in the apartment – on the walls , ceiling of living rooms.

Exhaust ventilation ducts become dirty more slowly than supply ducts. In the latter, in addition to street dust, allergens are retained, for example, pollen, chemical compounds from exhaust gases or industrial emissions.

The most polluted ventilation units

The air ducts used to build a ventilation system differ in size, material of manufacture, shape, design and connection method. However, the ventilation pipes have a sufficiently large cross-section and a straight direction, and air with unwanted suspensions passes through these areas most easily. Therefore, the direct ventilation duct is least susceptible to clogging.

It is much more difficult to cope with dirt in certain nodes of the system, which, due to their configuration, trap more debris.

These elements include:

  • ventilation outlets;
  • tees and crosses;
  • flexible inserts and rectangular wefts;
  • areas near filters;
  • valves;
  • diffusers and grilles;
  • adapters, etc.

It is these elements that you need to pay maximum attention to during cleansing.

It is worth considering the fact that it is quite difficult to process these zones without special equipment, so you cannot do without calling a team of specialists.

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Signs of the need to clean ventilation ducts

Visual inspection with the help of special devices for video surveillance is the surest way to personally verify the amount of debris and the need to clean the air ducts.

The following signs indicate that it is time to get rid of the air ducts of dust, grease and other pollutants:

  • The microclimate in the premises has worsened – stuffiness is felt.
  • The strength of the drafts generated when opening windows and doors has been significantly reduced.
  • Dust has started to accumulate on furniture and other surfaces.
  • The draft in the ventilation duct has dropped significantly.
  • If the homeowner observes at least some of the above phenomena, it is worthwhile to conduct a visual diagnosis of the ventilation ducts. This can be done through the inspection hatch or, if it is absent, by removing the ventilation grill.

Methods for air duct cleaning

Most owners choose to do home maintenance on their own, without the help of specialists. However, air duct cleaning requires both a certain skill and special and rather expensive equipment. Therefore, owners who are thinking about how to clean a home ventilation duct should still contact a company that has the appropriate license and permission to carry out these works.

Experts will organize the procedure in a truly high-quality and efficient manner, and will also take samples of contamination. Analysis of samples will allow you to determine the presence of pathogenic flora in the system and select the agent that is optimal for disinfection.

Method # 1 – mechanical cleaning

An effective method of cleansing, most often used for the maintenance of vertical channels. It is carried out by physically scraping deposits from the walls of the air ducts.

Convenient for removing light dirt:

  • dust;
  • cobwebs;
  • small stones;
  • waste products of birds and rodents.

In fact, in the cleaning procedure we can carry out both completely manually and automatically. The method is dry, as it does not involve the use of detergents and any other chemicals.

This method is not suitable for neutralizing fat deposits, since the accumulations of this contaminant are very difficult to remove from the channel surfaces. Another disadvantage of this method is that it is extremely inconvenient to use in ventilation systems with a complex configuration, an abundance of bends and branches.

For mechanical cleaning, we can use both simple and rather complex devices:

  • A wire rope with a wire brush removes deposits from surfaces well. To increase efficiency, the design can be supplemented with an electric drive.
  • The combined device with brushes and a vacuum cleaner makes it possible to simultaneously remove plaque and absorb its particles, so that they do not spread through the ventilation duct.
  • If mechanical cleaning takes place without the use of a vacuum cleaner, the scraped off debris can be removed naturally, in which the air flow carries the dirt with it.

When cleaning vertical channels in residential buildings with the help of a ruff and a weight on a cable, garbage can fall into a special pocket of the mine or settle in the opening at the entrance to the apartment. In the latter case, it must be collected to avoid the spread of dirt into the house. Therefore, it remains more effective to use an additional vacuum unit

Method # 2 – dry cleaning with foam

The method is effective for neutralizing fatty deposits, which are difficult to mechanical stress. The method is most in demand in catering establishments. In this method, complex air ducts of kitchen hoods are most susceptible to the constant settling of fat particles.

During the cleaning process, spray a special compound inside the air duct, which breaks down fat. The plaque is stratified and torn away from the surface, after which its particles are carried away by air masses or are sucked off with a vacuum cleaner.

If the foam does not kill germs, the air ducts will additionally disinfect during the cleaning process . The choice of a disinfectant also remains with the employee of the company. To maximize the effectiveness of the procedure for the destruction of pathogens, it is advisable to make samples of contaminants in order to determine the types of microorganisms inhabiting the air ducts.

Method # 3 – combined cleansing method

The method involves the use of mechanical devices + special cleaning foam. This tandem allows you to achieve good results in the presence of various types of contamination.

The procedure can be either completely manual or automated, in which vacuum devices are used to remove the remaining dirt.

Method # 4 – cryogenic blasting

At its core, this relatively new method is a kind of chemical purification. However, blasting deserves special attention due to its effectiveness and gentle action. The process involves the so-called dry ice, which has optimal properties for cleansing the walls.

The unit supplies dry ice to the air duct. The substance, in contact with the walls of the ventilation duct, almost instantly begins evaporation. Thanks to them, the deposit of dirt is separated from the walls, but the surface of the shaft itself is not damaged. Dry ice breaks down into carbon dioxide, which leaves the channel with a stream of fresh air.

Gentle cleaning, safety and environmental friendliness make cryogenic blasting the best choice for residential and catering applications.


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