The right air duct cleaning equipment is what separates a well-done duct cleaning from a poor one. That, and the level of skill shown by the cleaning specialist. The choice of air duct cleaning tools, like brushes, air whips, and vacuums, is what makes all the difference in terms of quality.
In today’s blog post, we’ll give a quick guide on air duct cleaning equipment and answer questions like:
What do professional duct cleaning companies use to clean air ducts?
How is professional equipment better than “do-it-yourself” makeshift cleaning kits?
Top Benefits of Professional Duct Cleaning Equipment
- Safety: Equipped with HEPA filters to capture most dangerous airborne contaminants.
- Effectiveness: Designed to effectively clean without damaging the ducts or the surrounding area.
- Efficiency: Quickest way to clean complex ductwork with minimal disruption to occupants.
Most Common Air Duct Cleaning Equipment
According to the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA), the basic tools required to thoroughly clean ductwork include:
- Access tools
- Inspection tools
- Hand cleaning tools
- Vacuum collection devices
- Compressed air sources
- HEPA and wet vacuums
Negative Air Machines: These machines create negative air pressure within the duct system, which helps to suck out dirt, debris, and other contaminants. They come equipped with HEPA filters, which capture 99.97% of particulates like pollen, dust, and various allergens.
Vacuum Trucks: Vacuum trucks are used to clean large commercial HVAC systems. They are equipped with high-powered vacuums that can handle large volumes of debris.
Air Compressors: Air compressors are used to power pneumatic tools like air whips and air nozzles, which are used to dislodge and remove dirt and debris from the air ducts.
Brushes: Duct cleaning brushes come in different sizes and shapes and are used to scrub and remove dirt and debris from the walls of the air ducts.
Air Whips: Air whips are a common tool in any duct cleaner’s repertoire. They attach to air compressors, using pressurized air to dislodge dirt and debris from the walls of the air ducts, which are then suctioned out by the negative air machine. Similar tools to air whips include blowguns and air skippers.
Air Nozzles: Air nozzles are (like air whips) pneumatic tools that are used to blow compressed air into the air ducts, dislodging and removing dirt and debris.
Inspection Cameras: Inspection cameras are used to examine the interior of the air ducts to spot any areas that still need cleaning.
Foggers: Foggers are used to apply sanitizers and deodorizers to the air ducts after cleaning to eliminate any remaining contaminants and improve air quality.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Air duct cleaning is a dirty and dusty job, and technicians must wear personal protective equipment like respirators, goggles, and gloves to protect themselves from airborne particles and contaminants.
How do Air Duct Cleaning Machines Work?
Air duct cleaning machines use a powerful motor to power a fan fixed at the end of a flexible hose; this creates negative air pressure within the duct system.
The fan is placed within the air ducts and uses negative air pressure to suck out the dust, debris, and other contaminants, which collect in a HEPA filter bag or container.
The air duct machine has numerous accessories and attachments designed to remove dust and debris from hard-to-reach areas of the HVAC system, from brushes to whips and nozzles.
How Much to Buy an Air Duct Cleaning Machine?
For laymen, purchasing a duct cleaning machine is not ideal.
To buy an air duct cleaning machine can cost upwards of $3,000 to $5,000.
There are plenty of manufacturers that offer professional-grade equipment for duct cleaning, restoration, or inspection.
DIY Air Duct Cleaning Kits
Though not nearly as effective or long-lasting as professional duct cleaning services, DIY-air duct cleaning kits are typically easy to use and come with a small instruction manual.
The Dangers: It’s not advisable to use these kits to clean dirty ducts if you have respiratory issues. The cleaning process can be hazardous, especially when there is mold or contaminants lingering in the duct lining.
Fiber glass lined metal ductwork, flexible ductwork, and ductboard can tear if overly-aggressive cleaning techniques are applied.
The Benefits: DIY air duct cleaning kits are certainly more cost-effective. But it’s important to weigh the pros and cons before attempting to clean your ducts on your own.
Can I Rent Duct Cleaning Machines?
Yes. There are plenty of equipment rental companies, but the prices can vary.
Air duct cleaning machine rentals can cost $100 to $500 per day, depending on the equipment size and complexity.
Keep this in mind: without the right experience or know-how, it can be unnecessarily difficult.
Ultimately, hiring an NADCA-certified air duct cleaning company is cheaper, safer, and more efficient.