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How can I clean out the crinkly pipes in a forced air heating system? Answered

I live in an RV and am allergic to dust and animals - the forced air heating plays havoc with my allergies. Is there some kind of duster on a flexible rod I could use to get rid of some of the accumulated muck that's doubtless in the tubes? Or something I could stick on the end of a carbon fiber tent pole? The ducts are about 10' long, curve around 90 degrees (over the space of a couple of feet) and are similar to the vents you get from dryers.



9 years ago

Thanks for both your replies. I want, eventually, to replace the carpet with cork tiles and minimize the dust and crud floating around but for now I've found the solution. The drill-head air-duct cleaner would probably be too abrasive for the pipes and some of the other stuff was rather expensive but I did find a "cobweb duster" that was exactly the right size and shape. It cost around $3 from Home Depot and, fortunately, didn't come with a handle that would have been too rigid for this task. The "push" comes from a carbon fiber tent pole and the pull comes from some string threaded through a hole drilled in the base. Pulling a tent pole would just collapse it even if you could fit it well enough to the base without risking a detached blockage!


9 years ago

Well I thought of a chimney sweeper, but they're stiff enough to puncture your ducting.

I can think of two real solutions.

1: Blow the dust out. Get a high-powered fan or air compressor and connect it to one end of the hose, and fire. There are duct-cleaning companies that do this for office buildings and such, I'll bet someone out there has some tips for doing it in an RV.

2: Remove the ducting, and either clean it outside or buy new ducting. If you clean it outside, make certain it's fully dried before you put it back or you will get mold.

Whichever way you do it... install some cheap dust filters on your vents and intakes after you're done. Since you have allergies, I suggest you change them a bit more frequently than advised on the package.

I have dust allergies too. Here's some stuff I do that seems to help:

-Zero carpet. Not even a rug.

-Regular dusting of all hard surfaces, using wet methods so dust doesn't get kicked back up.

-I use thin blankets and sheets on my bed, and I wash them often. I wash the comforter equally as often as the sheets.

-I use pillows that are supposed to be good for allergies. They work, but they're noisy (crinkly like a plastic bag).

-No tissues in the bedroom. The amount of dust that comes off of these is amazing. I'm not allergic to paper, but this stuff can be irritating.

-I run an air cleaner in the bedroom for a few hours before I go in to sleep.

-Clothing does not go into the bedroom closet or dresser unless it has been washed. No exceptions, even for jackets.

-I clean under all furniture, especially beds and couches about half as often as I clean the rest of the floors.

-I clean the dust out of my computer once a month. Take it outside, unscrew the case, and blow some canned air on it.