The art of Furnace and Air Duct Maintenance

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The Furnace in your home can accumulate carbon and dust faster than you can imagine. It is more severe when the furnace size is large. The main points of emission are the burner, blower, motor, air filter, air duct, and the air plenum. The vent pipes can reduce the volume of deposits to a reasonable extent. However, the volume of deposits is considered to be significant. Hence, you need to clean the furnace and the duct regularly

Is Furnace and Duct cleaning worth it?

The worthiness of cleaning depends on the negative side effects of not cleaning. The first parameter you have to consider is the health of your family members. For example, you can consider the clogged air filter. The deposition of dust, carbon dioxide and debris can restrict the volume of air flow. 

Clogged Filter


A clogged filter can force the furnace to consume more fuel to heat the same volume of water flowing through it. It can also result in internal damages to the pump, burner and motor. The pipes can crack due to excess of heat. The initial symptoms may be excess of fume generation within the furnace which may result in component or system breakdown. 

Your furnace could be single stage, two-stage, oil-driven or modulating. The air filter plays a critical role in the efficiency and effectiveness of the entire system. Clogged air filters can also lead to leaking of carbon dioxide and fumes within your home premises. In some cases, the system can also emit carbon monoxide due to the deposition of half-burnt fuel. 


The immediate effect is on the breathing organs including the lungs. It can affect everyone in the family, especially the children, elders, and sick ones. The initial deposits may start at the respiratory tracts and cover the entire cardiovascular system. 

In the next stage, carbon-dioxide can get absorbed by the bloodstream. It is the time when the other internal organs get affected by the toxic elements. It could lead to the failure of the respiratory and the other internal organs. 

Admittedly, it is not a process which happens overnight. But increased exposure may accelerate the process within a few weeks or months. 


Furnace inefficiency can be due to the increased consumption of fuel. 


The energy bills you get will be enormous due to increased fuel consumption for the reduced volume of heating. Initially, you may not realize the losses, but they can become evident within a few weeks. 

Component Damage

Damages could be in the form of failure, cracks, leaks, and internal damages. Your furnace may function with lesser efficiency of heating. It may develop functional faults like lower or higher water pressure, fluctuations in temperature, etc. 

In some cases, the flue pipe gets clogged. It results in waste of fuel and internal furnace pollution. There is also a possibility of damages to the core motor and burners. 


Practical problems to health, hygiene, and furnace efficiency prove beyond doubt that the furnace and duct cleaning is worth it. 

Can I clean air ducts myself?  

Before we decide on the DIY procedure, it is essential to consider the pros and cons of it. Let us start with the Pros. 

Pros of DIY Cleaning

  • It is economical 
  • It can save your time ( of waiting for technician)
  • You can do it whenever you want without extra service costs 

However, there are many limiting factors to DIY procedures. For example, you may not have access to the advanced cleaning equipment. Hence, the task may take more time and energy.



Lack of experience can be a main negative point for your DIY cleaning project. You need to have an understanding of the internal parts of the duct and the furnace. For example, you can consider the internal parts like the motor, blower, burners, and gas valves. They are so intricately designed that the space between them is very narrow. 

Even the duct which connects to them could be deep and narrow to reach to the internal parts. So, you will need advanced tools like the vacuum, air compressors, foggers, airless-sprayers, chemicals and coatings, advanced brush systems, etc.

Even if you were to get all the systems in order, you should have the experience of using them for the DIY project. It is due to the installation location, size, and the capacity of the furnace. Let’s look at some of these aspects and analyze. 


The complexity of the duct design depends on its location. The standard location will be the basement. Hence, the height of the duct may extend up to your home  roof. So, you have to start cleaning from the top or from the furnace connection to the hood of the duct. Both the tasks can be complex unless you understand the structural and functional aspects of the duct. 

Safety Factor

The air pressure within the duct can vary, depending on the elbow throat design. Interaction of the air with the duct surfaces can also reduce the pressure. Hence, the designers will make the surfaces smooth and flat for increasing the pressure. Working through such surfaces without sufficient safety gears can lead to personal injury and damages to the duct. 


The costs of a DIY procedure are much more than the hiring of cleaning professionals. For example, you can calculate the costs for equipment rental, safety gear rental, power consumption, your time, and other tangible and intangible factors. When you compare the prices of hiring an expert, you can quickly know the cost-effectiveness. 


You may perform the simple tasks of removing the dust and dirt from the duct’s exterior and interiors when the size of the duct is relatively small. If you wish to clean the internal depositions of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, rust, and other debris, you may think of getting professional services. They can provide you with long-term solutions for the efficient and effective functioning of your duct and the furnace. You can also save your time to spend with your family on weekends. 

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