As a homeowner, you should have your air ducts cleaned at least once every 3 years or depending on the need. Air duct cleaning means cleaning out the contaminants, including dust, dirt, and debris, from your duct systems using professional air duct cleaning equipment. You should always have a professional do this job for you because only they can give you a thorough and safe cleaning. 

You may be surprised to know that there are several types of air duct cleaning methods used by companies. Here we will discuss three of the most common methods used, along with their pros and cons. In the end, we will also be deciding which method is the best for your home!

Let’s start with the common methods of air duct cleaning!

Power Vacuum Cleaning

The first method is the power vacuum cleaning method, also called truck-mounted air duct cleaning. 

This method uses a powerful vacuum unit to draw out the dust, dirt, and debris from your air ducts. This vacuum unit is usually attached to a larger truck parked outdoors and connected through your air duct inlet. The PTO shaft of the operating vehicle feeds the air duct vacuum enough power to draw in the contaminants that fill the air ducts. One truck-mounted vacuum can pull out 10,000 to 15,000 cubic feet of air every minute!


The primary benefit of using a power vacuum cleaning method is its effectiveness. Moreover, the truck-mounted vacuum system is more powerful than the portable one, so it is usually preferable.


The drawback to this method is that it is expensive. Bringing such heavy equipment to your location alone will cost you enough.

Point of Contact Cleaning

The second method is point-of-contact duct cleaning. This method utilizes a more portable filtered vacuum system and an agitation device. The agitation device, or usually a spinning brush, works to break away the dust and debris clinging to the air duct walls. Once the dirt and debris are free, they can be pulled out using the portable vacuum. 

The vacuum is usually fitted with a HEPA filter to help ensure that cross-contamination doesn’t occur while the dirt and debris are extracted. The portable vacuum can therefore be used inside the house easily, unlike the truck-mounted system that is limited to the outside area.


This method is a little less expensive than the truck-mounted air duct cleaning method, which is why many prefer it. Many people also express concern about cross-contamination when using truck-mounted vacuums. This concern is alleviated with point-of-contact air duct cleaning.


This method may be less expensive but is not as effective or thorough as truck-mounted air duct cleaning.


Mechanical Agitation or Source Removal

The final method is mechanical agitation or source removal air duct cleaning. This is one of the most widely used methods of duct cleaning

A mechanical agitation device is first used to loosen up the dirt and debris accumulated in the air ducts and then extracted safely. This is different from point-of-contact cleaning since it lacks the use of a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) vacuum. Instead, it uses mechanical devices to remove dirt and debris from your air duct interiors.


Source removal air duct cleaning is the most popular method, as it can efficiently remove all contaminants to levels that meet industry standards. It is also a much cheaper method that can be used if you are sticking to a budget.


Although it is cheaper, this duct cleaning method is not as effective as the other methods we have discussed.

Which Is The Best Method of Air Duct Cleaning?

You may have noticed that out of all the methods we have enlisted, there is no clear winner. They all have their own strengths and weaknesses, which make it challenging to pick out one that would be the best one for you. 

In reality, the best air duct cleaning method depends on your specific needs. For some, source removal cleaning may be more effective. For others, truck-mounted cleaning would be a better choice. The best way forward would be to consult with your air duct cleaners, ask them what methods they offer and then deduce which would suit you best!

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