You should clean your ducts and air vents on a regular basis. You could hire a professional HVAC service, but with a little bit of ingenuity and the right tools, you can actually give your ducts quite a thorough cleaning. This article explains some DIY checks that you can do to make sure that your duct system is in top working order. Not only do you need to clean the duct sidewalls, you also need to clean the air registers. A simple cleaning of your ducts and air registers can increase the airflow in your system while also reducing allergens.
Cleaning the Air Registers
The first, and easiest thing you can do is to regularly clean your air registers. This does not mean you just wipe the outside of the register while you are cleaning your house. You actually need to remove the whole air register from the wall to clean it well. This is very easy because most registers are just attached to the wall with a couple of screws. Some screws have painted heads, so unscrewing them basically takes the paint off. If this is the case, you might want to get brand new screws when you reattach the registers.
You might also need a utility knife to cut the seal around the edge of the registers if they are caulked or painted over. Once your registers are removed from the wall, you can clean both sides. If you have vinyl or plastic registers, you can even clean them in the sink with dish soap. If you have aluminum or wood, you should just clean them with a damp rag.
Cleaning the Ducts
While you have the registers removed from the walls, you should use a wet rag to wipe down the inside of the duct section that you can reach with your arm. Most importantly, make sure there is no dust buildup along the ridge of the drywall and the house framing. Dust can build up along this edge and you want to clean it out as well as possible. If you want to clean deeper into your duct system on your own, you can use a telescoping painters pole with a dusting attachment. Or you can get creative by taping a damp rag to one end of a long broomstick. You should probably use a flashlight so you can see deep into the ducts.
If you clean your duct system on a regular basis, you can reduce dust and airflow problems. If your vents are too high or too tricky to clean, contact an air duct cleaning service.