Cleaning Our HVAC System After Our Renovation

Disclaimer: This blog post is brought to you by Trane. Thanks for supporting the brands that support this blog.

The last few months have been full of DUST! Undergoing an entire home renovation is no joke, especially when you’re tearing a home pretty much down to the studs. Every time I went over to the house, I would don my grossest clothes and I even had a dedicated pair of sneakers that I always wore. These were old shoes that I didn’t mind getting covered in grit and sawdust when entering our humble abode.Beam in kitchen during renovation progress

Our renovation wrapped up at the end of August and we immediately did a deep clean of our entire home. We considered hiring out this backbreaking work, but sometimes others don’t clean like you do (ya know what I mean?). My mom and I spent hours and hours each night scrubbing, dusting, and sweeping. We’re still finding dust in unexpected places, but for the most part, things are finally looking good around here!

A Dirty Area I NeglectedRenovation progress in our finn fixer upper

But there is one area I totally forgot about cleaning…our HVAC system. HVAC = Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning. Kinda the core components of any home!

It wasn’t until I got an email from Trane about teaming up that I even gave our HVAC a thought during the chaos of this renovation. Trane is a world leader in air conditioning and home comfort systems, looking to educate homeowners about their HVAC systems. They mentioned that they were following along on our home renovation and asked how I planned to clean our HVAC system when the work was all done. My mind was so wrapped up in the things I could see during the renovation (new flooring, new lighting, fresh paint) that I completely forgot about our HVAC system behind the walls.

I was so happy about this huge reminder and immediately said I would love to work together because it was such an organic partnership (and I needed to figure out how the heck to clean my system)! I had an HVAC system that was dirty AF and Trane had the knowledge and insight to get everything working wonderfully again. I know a lot of you guys are in the midst of home renovations and I figured this post could serve as a reminder to do these things when you finish up your projects!

HVAC System Maintenance – Before Your RenovationCleaning out our new HVAC and furnace system

Honestly, I didn’t do much to prep our HVAC system for our renovation. Palm to forehead. But I want you to learn from my mistakes! Here are a few things you can do before construction begins…Clean ceiling register

  • Close all of your HVAC vents: This prevents dust from getting sucked up in there and stuck in the venting system.
  • Buy Covers: There are vent covers (like these magnetic ones) that you can place over the vents to prevent even the tiniest of materials from getting through. When Finn and I renovated our bathroom, we taped plastic over our ceiling vent to prevent the dust from escaping to other rooms in the house.
  • Consider Upgrading your HVAC: If you’re already undergoing a renovation, you might want to consider upgrading your unit. According to Trane, if your unit dates from 2006 or earlier you might want to think about replacing it. New models have a higher SEER rating and energy-reducing features that can save your heating and cooling costs by as much as 54%. This post has some great tips about what to know before you buy a new unit. Our units are pretty old and I wish we would have looked into this before starting our big project.

Cleaning Our HVAC System After RenovationMess of demolition

Since I didn’t do all of the tips before kicking off our renovation, I knew we would need a lot of help on the backend. Our house was one big dust bomb during our renovation and it was inevitable that a lot of it would travel into the venting and furnace of our home. You guys remember this post showcasing the 180 garbage bags of stuff that was in our ceiling?! I certainly didn’t want us breathing in construction debris in our brand-new house. Not to mention, the last thing I want is for that dust to cause our system to freeze up and stop working. Yikes!

Here’s what I did to get our system clean and ready for move-in.

Change Air FilterDirty air filters can affect your HVAC system

OMG guys, our air filters were FILTHY after our renovation! Filthy I tell ya. One even had random particles and pieces of paper that got stuck in there with it (see above on the right). Before we moved in, I immediately changed our air filters. We have two systems in our big new house, so I ended up buying a big pack of air filters so we have plenty on hand. Dirty air filter

I’m actually sharing more about air filters in an upcoming post because after chatting with a few people I realized that a lot of people don’t really know much about air filters and why they’re so important so they’re making BIG mistakes when changing them. Again, stay tuned for those details. Who knew air filters could be so exciting?!

Get Ductwork Cleaned

Even though I made sure to clean the outside of the floor vents and registers, I knew that there was going to be a lot of crud all up in those vents. Because of that, I scheduled an appointment to have a specialist come out and clean our vents. I actually used the Trane website to find a local dealer who could get the job done.Getting our HVAC and ductwork clean

He came out once we finished up construction and got to work. Holy smokes were our vents dirty! He was able to suck everything out of our ductwork and showed me pictures of what was in there (it was not a pretty sight). There were even rocks all the way in there that got in from the renovation. Craziness. This cost about $500, but the improved air quality and peace of mind are well worth it to me. Plus, we’re, hopefully, preventing repairs to our HVAC system down the line. The ductwork cleaner told me that everyone should have this done every three to five years to maintain clean air in their home and people should definitely do it after any type of construction project. Black floor vents

I also ended up buying these black floor vents for around our house because we needed some new ones to go with our style. They are matte black and go well with our door hardware.

Service Furnace & Air ConditionerOur HVAC system is now all clean after our renovation

The ductwork guy specialized in ventilation systems, so I had to have another company come out to clean and service our furnaces and air conditioners. Again, I highly recommend finding one through the Trane Comfort Specialist Locator. I used a licensed and insured expert who was able to come out in less than a week.

Our clean furnace and HVAC system

This cost me only $99 per unit and within two hours everything was clean and up and running. Plus, it was good to talk to a specialist to review the systems and get a good overview of how they run (and where to watch out for any issues down the line).

Breathing EasierRenovation dust and constructionClean air in our living room

It did take a little planning to get the HVAC system serviced but I’m now feeling a weight lifted off my shoulders knowing that it’s all clean and running to clean your HVAC system after a renovation

So guys, learn from my mistakes and create a gameplan for your HVAC system before you start construction. It’s not the “pretty” side of a home project (not much of a before and after when you’re discussing air quality), but it’s vital to the health of your system and overall home.


The Year of Casey

Hey there!

I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m a Chicago gal teaching you how to design, DIY, and maintain your home…by yourself! Learn more about me right here.

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