What is Furnace Duct Cleaning?

Updated by Lisa A on July 12, 2018 in

Air Duct Cleaning, Duct Cleaning

If you came across this article as a result of an internet search, you may have noticed there aren't a lot of search results for "furnace duct cleaning." It’s not a conspiracy but rather a matter of diction: the more common term is “air duct cleaning.” (It’s also sometimes referred to as “HVAC duct cleaning” or “vent cleaning.”) 

Furnace Duct Cleaning

Furnace duct cleaning—or air duct cleaning—is the process of removing contaminants and debris from the ductwork associated with the HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) system. This ductwork is sometimes referred to as furnace ducts because they originate at the furnace—the heat source—and serve to distribute heated (or, in some cases, cooled) air throughout the building or home, exiting at the vents or diffusers.


What is the process for furnace duct cleaning? 

There are a variety of methods for cleaning furnace ducts, but generally the process relies on a dual approach, referred to as the “push and pull method.” The first aspect relies on a powerful vacuum applied near the furnace to create negative pressure, or sucking in of the debris to a containment system, preferably off-site, such as a truck. The second aspect of the service involves the utilization of agitation equipment, such as pneumatic air whips or rotating brushes, which essentially jostle around inside the ducts and loosen any debris, which is then sucked up by the vacuum. (Still have questions about the cleaning prodess or the various levels available? Visit our air duct cleaning service page.)


What is the difference between furnace duct cleaning and air duct cleaning? 

In short, nothing at all. Some companies that refer to their service as “furnace duct cleaning” rather than “air duct cleaning” may perhaps do so because they include the furnace as part of the duct cleaning process. Since the furnace and ductwork are all connected and continuously circulate air throughout the system, if one component is dirty and in need of cleaning, the other likely is too—so cleaning the furnace along with the furnace ducts is almost always the best approach (unless, as happens every so often, customers are having their ducts cleaned because they’re getting their furnace replaced). Always check with the company, though, to find out what components are included during the cleaning service, as it is not necessarily standard practice to include the furnace in an air duct cleaning without additional cost.


Where can I find out more?

Now familiar with the lingo, you’ll find a wellspring of information available in a search for “air duct cleaning.” Interested in finding out what tools are used during the process? Check out our blog article, Tools and Equipment Used During Air Duct Cleaning. Want to read about each of the specific levels of service available and the precise process it entails? Visit our air duct cleaning service pages. Considering having the service performed? Download our free tipsheet: 10 Questions to Ask Before Hiring an Air Duct Cleaning Company. 

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