My house was built in 1940. I have noticed the forced air pushes out a lot of dust. This is evident from lint collecting on the bathroom vanity below a vent. It only collects lint during Summer and Winter when the forced air is blowing. I change the air filter every month but there's still significant dust. How effective would it be to hire someone to clean the vents? Is there a DIY option?

I've heard the amount of dust depends on how tightly the house is built. This makes me think that with such an old home, cleaning the vents would only be a temporary fix.

1 Answer 1


i would suggest having an HVAC contractor visit to examine all of your ductwork. My guess would be there are wholes, gaps, or rips in the ducts whereupon the system in operation is pulling the dust in from wall cavities, basement or attic (depending on where the ductwork runs). Once the contractor (or yourself) seals up and/or replaces any ductwork then you could consider having them vacuumed out. Also, you should probably put this high on your priority list because interior air quality is really important for controlling allergies and general health. Good luck!

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    I would think they could use cameras on extendible devices to inspect the ductwork, right? Would sealing the ducts require removing walls or are there ways to seal the ducts from the inside without removing walls? Commented Mar 9, 2015 at 14:41
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    I'd be surprised if your ductwork is in the walls, but I'm not familiar with all types of construction. In a 1940s house like yours ductwork is typically run in a basement or crawl space then to floor vents. 2nd stories are accessed via a chase that runs in the wall but then the lines feed out from there. With this kind of setup a contractor should be able to visually inspect most of the ductwork and find leaks when the system is running. In fact, i haven't heard of an HVAC contractor using a camera - the ones i'm familiar with don't typically extend long enough. Commented Mar 10, 2015 at 5:41
  • Much of the horizontal vents are visible in the basement, where they line up with the different rooms above. As mentioned, these should be easy to check and seal. The vertical vents are much less accessible, particularly those going from the basement to the 2nd floor. I don't see how to inspect these without removing the 1st floor walls or using a camera. I do know that many of the vent covers do not line up well with the vents (problems with old and new sizing) so there are gaps there I could improve. Commented Mar 10, 2015 at 14:06
  • This is a temporary fix while you get someone in to look and fix the problem. My brother in-law had a couple of broken ducts dumping dust/dirt into 2 rooms. While it was addressed he put dryer sheets behind the vent to capture the dust.
    – treeNinja
    Commented Mar 11, 2015 at 14:36

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