Ways to Clean Air Conditioner (A/C) Unit Ducts

We all know what air conditioners are. Even if you aren’t well-versed in the concept, design, and repair of air conditioners, you probably know that they generally come in two forms: wall-mounted air conditioners and HVAC systems that provide air conditioning, as well as heating and ventilation.

Wall-mounted air conditioners usually only cool one room at a time, though they can be used to heat multiple smaller rooms. These air conditioners do not contain ducts.

HVAC systems, on the other hand, do contain ducts, which are used to carry cooled air throughout homes.

The reason why wall-mounted air conditioners don’t use ducts is that they aren’t powerful enough to cool the entirety of homes or commercial buildings. HVAC systems employ exterior units to cool homes that are far too powerful to cool just one or two rooms at a time. As a way to more evenly cool homes and buildings that use central air systems, another term used in place of HVAC systems, ducts are used to carry conditioned air to other rooms, stories, and even other buildings.

Like almost all material things in life, air conditioners’ ducts need to be cleaned every so often. Here are a few things that every person living in or owning a home that employs a central cooling system needs to know.

What are air conditioning unit ducts made out of?

AC unit duct systems, which can also collectively be referred to as ductwork, are made of thin, insulated tubing. These ducts are typically made of durable foil and insulating material. Their insulation is wedged between two thin layers of foil.

These three layers are typically wrapped around coils of thin, flexible, metal wire.

Can you clean AC unit ducts yourself?

You can, though this type of service is typically best trusted in the hands of professionals.

In general, ductwork usually only contains dust and tiny pieces of debris. This dust and debris can usually easily be cleaned out with specialized tools.

The most common type of tool used is a rotating bristle brush. In order to clean out the entirety of a home’s ductwork, professionals connect pieces of thin, flexible cord to safely navigate the thin ducts.

Mold can also be present

In some cases, ductwork contains mold or overgrowths of bacteria especially in summer. When mold or bacteria is present, professionals use what are known as biocide treatments to systematically kill them and prevent their spread.

While dust and debris can be cleaned out by laypeople, mold and bacteria cleanup is typically only done by HVAC system maintenance professionals.