Woman in goggles and apron facing camera holding spray bottle, rag and mop for DIY home cleaning

Regularly scheduled air duct cleaning is more than just a good idea. It’s essential home maintenance that helps ensure you and your loved ones are not breathing recycled pollen, mold spores, pet dander and other common pollutants. When they hear that statement some people respond by noting that their HVAC system has an air filter that is supposed to remove all that stuff. While others respond by trying to prove that if something needs to be done, they’re the ones to do it.

The “Air Filter Will Get it” Myth

While it’s true that there is an air filter on the intake of your furnace or central air unit, those filters don’t get everything. In addition, the average home has more than a hundred feet of ductwork and those ducts have myriad small leaks that allow pollutants to enter and accumulate inside. Over time your ducts are going to get dirty, and if you don’t do anything to address the dirty ducts they will simply recycle the aforementioned pollutants throughout the house, day after day.

The “I Can Handle it” Myth

While we understand and appreciate the do-it-yourself mindset, the fact is there are some things that can be done by yourself, and some things that should always be left to the professionals. Electrical wiring, plumbing, anything to do with gas, and duct cleaning all fit into the latter category. Duct cleaning is one of those things that seems a lot easier than it actually is. It’s also one of those things that, if you do it wrong, you could do more harm than good.

The following are a few bad ideas homeowners have come up with to tackle air duct cleaning on their own.

Using The Vacuum Cleaner for Air Duct Cleaning

Seems easy enough, right? Just remove the register and use the vacuum to clear any dust and debris from inside the duct. What could go wrong? Well, plenty actually. First off, if the DIY homeowner is not careful the steel vacuum hose extensions can bang against the side of the ducts and create brand new leaks. That’s because sections of ductwork are only held together by tongue and groove joinery that can be fairly easily compromised. Second, the vacuum is almost never going to reach far enough into the ductwork to get everything, and what’s left behind will now be disturbed and come flying out of your registers once the system is turned back on.

Blowing Out Their Ducts

If vacuuming out the ducts is not such a great idea then maybe the opposite will work. We know of more than a few homeowners who took it upon themselves to attempt air duct cleaning by means of blowing air through the system. In most cases, they use the blower feature on their vacuum cleaner. But in at least one case we know of, the enterprising homeowner decided to use their leaf blower to clean out their dirty ducts. The result? A thick cloud of dirt, dust, allergens, mold spores, pet hair and more that turned the house into a respiratory nightmare and eventually came to rest on the furniture, carpeting, countertops and everything else.

Using a Dust Mop

Okay, if vacuuming is out and blowing out the ducts with a leaf blower won’t work, how about a good old fashioned dust mop? Dusty ducts and a dust mop seem like a match made in logistical heaven, right? Unfortunately, not. You wind up with the same problems you have with using a vacuum cleaner in that you’re not going to reach every part of the ducts, and banging the dust mop around inside the ducts will likely create new leaks that undermine the whole system.

Replacing the Dryer Instead of Dryer Vent Cleaning

One of the classic signs of a clogged dryer vent is that the dryer doesn’t ever seem to get the clothes completely dry. Some homeowners misinterpret this as a sign that the dryer is on its last legs and go buy a new one. When they hook up the new dryer they find it doesn’t work properly either, and then they’re really mystified. It’s only then that they end up calling us to ask about dryer vent cleaning

Keeping the dryer vent clean is incredibly important because clogged dryer vents are responsible for thousands of house fires every year in the US. These fires lead to numerous deaths, scores of injuries and millions in damage to homes, and yet they are completely preventable. If your dryer is not performing up to expectations don’t head to the store to find a replacement, give Steve’s a call instead and let us restore proper dryer function while also removing this significant fire risk.


Air duct cleaning is not something that can be handled with a simple vacuum cleaner or a (gulp!) leaf blower. It requires trained professionals using the right equipment and best practices to ensure a thorough job. Likewise, dryer vent cleaning is not only essential dryer maintenance, it’s also vital to protect your home from the risk of a dryer vent fire.

At Steve’s Carpet Care our professional technicians have the necessary equipment and training to ensure your ducts and vents are properly cleaned. When we’re done everyone in your house can breathe easy and you can sleep well at night knowing that you have prevented a major fire hazard from ever developing. Call Steve’s to learn more.

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