Air Duct Cleaning Methods Explained

Air duct cleaning services have been available since the 1900’s.  Over the years there have been numerous changes in technologies and industry standards.  Air duct cleaning method advancements have improved the quality and safety of the air duct cleaning process.  Before agreeing to clean your air ducts, you should learn about the different air duct cleaning methods.

Source Removal

Source removal is the recommended air duct cleaning method.  Source Removal, is the mechanical cleaning of system components to remove dirt and debris.  Dust and other particle debris tend to stick or statically cling to the interior of air ducts.  Source removal requires two key elements:

Mechanical agitation:

which loosens the debris from the walls of the air ducts and HVAC components.


which safely removes the debris from the HVAC system to levels that are acceptable to industry standard.

Air Duct Cleaning Methods

Steam Air Duct Cleaning:

Steam Air Duct Cleaning methods utilize a wand that delivers a high temperature & high pressure steam to agitate the debris from the walls of the air ducts as the air ducts are drawn into negative pressure by a vacuum.

Steam cleaning and other methods involving moisture should not be used on any kind of duct work.  Modern HVAC components are highly dependent on electronic components to make them efficient; the introduction of moisture will damage system components.

Truck Mounted Vacuum Cleaning:

Truck mounted vacuum methods utilize a vacuum that is powered through the PTO shaft of an operating vehicle.  Truck mounted vacuum cleaning technology is based on the volume of air being drawn.  The truck mounted vacuum draws a volume of air typically ranging between 10,000 to 15,000 cubic feet of air per minute.  A vacuum hose is attached from the truck to the trunk lines of the ventilation system.  As the ventilation system is drawn into a vacuum, either rotary brushes or air lines are inserted into air vent registers to agitate debris to the collection point.

While once a widely used air duct cleaning method, industry professionals are veering away from a truck mounted and gas powered vacuums because of the high probability of cross contamination.  Truck mounted vacuums draw vehicle exhaust and debris into the ambient air while in operation.

Point of Contact Air Duct Cleaning:

Point of contact methods are currently the safest and most effective air duct cleaning method.  A point of contact air duct cleaning method utilizes a portable HEPA filtered vacuum and an agitation device to simultaneously to clean the air ducts.  Portable HEPA vacuum cleaning technology is based on the velocity of air being drawn.  High velocity of vacuum allows for greater lift of the debris, and the HEPA filter prevents the potential of cross contamination.

Though point of contact air duct cleaning methods are currently the safest and most effective means of cleaning air ducts, new and innovative air duct cleaning technologies are always in development.