Cleaning out central heating ducts


We've got warm air heating in our house, in a property built in the 1970s. Today, for the first time since we've lived here (5 years) I decided to pull off the single big intake grill and two outlet grills downstairs just to see what was behind them and discovered huge piles of dust and crud. Yuk! Having now vacuumed them out, I am wondering what state the rest of the system ducts are in, and wondering how I can clean them out. The upstairs bedrooms (3) and bathroom have grills in the ceiling which is fed by the ducts fanning out from the central heating unit located in the centre of the house. I've looked in the loft and other than dismanting the whole lot, which includes unwrapping all the wadding and hesian, I can't think how I can do it.
I've not turned the system on yet this year, but I do remember last year when we turned it on, we had to leave the house for a hour as we got a smell of burning dust. Even by the time we turned the system off again in the Spring, we still getting burning dust smell when we turned it on, albeit a lot less. We also noticed that we had to hoover and dust a lot more during the winter.
I'm not sure these systems are any good if you've got asthma or any other lung disorder. Thankfully, none of us have.
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Mitchum wrote:

Call your local chimney sweep. He has all the right tools.
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zaax

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We had a Linclon warm air central heating in our mid 70's built house. Last March we replaced it with radiators (gaining space where the warm air unit was) and are now looking forward to winter.
At the top of the unit is a wire gauze which tries to filter dust from entering the unit and blowing through the vents. This has to be cleaned, by brushing, every now and again. You can also have Electrostatic air filters, which filter out 95% of the dust.
Like you we turned the warm air off in spring and back on again in Autumn with the burning dust smell. This ment pressing and holding buttons whilst lighting the burners. With radiators we can switch on and off by truning a switch when we need it on the occasional cold spring/summer morning or evening.
I do miss the rapid heat up blowing out across the floor before rising to the ceiling whereas the radiator just produce hot air which goes straight to the ceiling.
It might be worth considering replacing ageing warm air central heating with more energy efficent rads.
Bobby
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[Posted and mailed]

We had a warm-air system fitted to our 1928 detached house in the around 1970. It was a Canadian system, with filters just like those you have described. Can't recall the name, started with L but I don't think it was Lincoln.
In 1976 we moved to a house where there already was a radiator system, so we left it, but my wife immediately noticed how much dirtier this system made the emulsion-painted walls, compared with the old house.
I suspect your cleaning operation may have removed all the dust that mattered.
Best wishes, Robin.
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Robin Phillips,
NG9 1BT
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