What is Air Duct Cleaning?

Air duct cleaning is a service that redefines home health helping to improve indoor air quality and HVAC efficiency. While commonly referred to as air duct cleaning, this is a general term, and a more accurate term would be HVAC cleaning and restoration. This is because the entirety of your HVAC system should be cleaned in the process. Similar to how you wouldn’t only clean half your floors, you shouldn’t have only parts of your HVAC system cleaned.

To really understand what air duct cleaning entails, we’re going to dive into the components of HVAC systems and how our air duct cleaning works. We clean according to the industry standards set by the National Air Duct Cleaners Association, NADCA, so you’ll be hearing that name a lot!

Woman breathing in cleaner indoor air

How Do HVAC Systems Work?

HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. It helps with temperature control and maintains humidity levels by regulating air movement and distribution of the conditioned air within the home. Simply put, it helps keep our homes as comfortable as possible against adverse conditions. Air duct cleaning helps maximize that comfort by being a key component to HVAC maintenance.

While there are plenty of moving parts that make up an HVAC system, breaking it down by part can help it piece all together. Interact with this HVAC model to understand the main components of any unit!


As best practice, it’s important to clean all components of the HVAC system. According to NADCA, failure to clean all components can result in recontamination of the entire system and minimize the benefits of cleaning. It is recommended to have the following cleaned:

  • Air ducts
  • Coils
  • Drain pan
  • Registers
  • Air plenum
  • Blower motor and assembly
  • Air filter
  • Air Cleaner (devices such as mechanical filters, in-duct air purifiers, etc. that clean air as it passes through system)

Some companies may offer enticingly low prices like a $99 cleaning. However, make sure to read the fine print as these services tend to take shortcuts and typically only clean your air ducts. While it may look visibly cleaner around your vents, it only cleans what you can see. To really get your money’s worth for air duct cleaning, go with a company that correctly cleans your whole-system – thoroughly removing what you can and can’t see.

Learn more about air duct cleaning costs.

How Stanley Steemer Cleans

As mentioned, Stanley Steemer cleans air ducts and HVAC systems according to the standards set by the National Air Duct Cleaners Association. This means our services clean your entire system for the most effective results. It also means these services are provided by a trusted technician who specializes in air duct cleaning. We never hire subcontractors. Learn more about how we approach air duct cleaning from start to finish:

  1. Inspection
  2. Process
  3. Completion

Air Duct Inspection and Estimate

Before we clean, our technicians always begin with a free, zero-obligation inspection of your HVAC system. During this time, our inspectors will evaluate the entire system including supply and return ductwork, air handling unit, dryer vent, and outside condensing unit to assess the need for cleaning. The inspection helps us determine the best cleaning set-up and equipment to be utilized. Finally, an accurate estimate will be provided, and scheduling can be completed at that time.

This also gives you the opportunity to have any questions directly answered by a qualified expert. Find your local air duct cleaner to see what their inspection and/or estimate process is.

Air Duct Cleaning Process

When Stanley Steemer arrives for your services, our iconic yellow truck may look a bit different. That’s because we custom-engineer and build our own vacuum-mounted trucks for air duct cleaning at our corporate facility. With the largest fleet of air duct cleaning trucks in the nation, we can achieve high-quality control to deliver a consistent, powerful clean to any-sized home.  

Air duct cleaning van outside of home

From there, let the pros take it away. Our technicians will set up all necessary equipment and safely prep your HVAC system for the air duct cleaning.

We best describe our air duct cleaning as a whole-system process that includes agitation combined with negative air. Agitation requires breaking contaminants loose from the HVAC system using compressed air. While the other half is the collection and source removal of those loosened contaminants using a high-performance vacuum that applies negative pressure.

Continuous negative pressure removes very fine particles from the system as they become airborne in the ducts and extracts them into the vacuum. This ensures that these particles and contaminants are not pushed back into living spaces when the system is turned on after cleaning. Access to the HVAC system is especially important and is a large part of what makes each air duct cleaning unique from the next. Vacuums used in the process can be truck-mounted or portable. The type of vacuum will be determined at the time of the inspection or by our cleaning technicians but any type of vacuum collection equipment will be capable of cleaning your HVAC system.  

Before image of dirty air ducts next to after image of clean air ducts

Air Duct Cleanup and Completion

Once your full-system clean is complete, the technician will perform a thorough walkthrough of your house reviewing the process and showing the cleanliness. Lastly, we properly clean up and leave homes exactly how we found it. Leaving only behind a clean HVAC system so you and your family can enjoy your new-improved indoor air quality. 

Ready to breathe life back into your home? Schedule your air duct cleaning estimate and say goodbye to dirt & dust.