9 Effective Ways to Protect Your HVAC During Remodeling

Bry'Ana Arvie
Written by Bry'Ana Arvie
Updated January 10, 2022
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Photo: David/ Adobe Stock

Bust the dust when remodeling your home

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Home remodeling projects are exciting and sometimes long overdue endeavors. Whether you’re changing out the cabinets in your kitchen, replacing your flooring, or adding built-in shelves in your bathroom, you’re ready to be out with the old and in with the new. Unfortunately, there’s one constant among reno projects—dust—and you’ll want to consider how it’ll impact your HVAC system. 

If you’re looking for tips to protect your HVAC system during construction, this guide has you covered. 

1. Plan Out Your Remodeling Process

Consult with pros to create a protection plan for your HVAC unit while remodeling. Discuss your concerns with the contractor and ask them if there’s anything they do or use to minimize and contain dust. 

If dust control isn’t in their typical process, but they’re willing to implement it, work with them to strategize a solution—e.g., using a plastic barrier to separate rooms or power tools with dust control attachments. Also, contact an HVAC pro to see if your specific system would be impacted by the reno process and if you’ll need to replace or repair anything afterwards. 

2. Keep Your Vents Covered

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Dust doesn’t belong in a lot of places—like your HVAC system. So, to keep dust particles out when your contractor is working on your dream remodeling project, close your vents and keep them covered with a plastic drop cloth. By covering them, you’ll keep unwanted particles out of the ducts in the area being remodeled. 

However, it’s important to note that closing your vents while your system is on can place a strain on your HVAC unit, which can potentially shorten its lifespan.

3. Take Construction Outside

While not all remodeling projects require cutting, sanding, and measuring, some do. And for those that need some construction work, limit dust particles inside your home. To keep your HVAC system protected from premature failure, ask your pro if they can keep the dust inside to a minimum and take the dusty work outside. 

4. Switch Off Your System

We get it; sometimes you need to measure and cut that baseboard inside. Or the weather isn’t favorable. So, when you can’t take the construction—or most of it—outside or you’re not comfortable covering your vents while it’s still on, turn your system off. 

When your HVAC system is on during remodeling projects, dust particles can likely still get inside it. But, turning it off minimizes the dust circulating throughout your system.

5. Clean, Clean, Clean

woman cleaning wood floors
Photo: xartproduction/ Adobe Stock

Covering your vents and switching off your heating and cooling unit during remodeling are effective ways to protect your system. But what about in between sessions? Most remodeling projects aren’t a one-day job; they can last for a few. 

Since keeping your system off for days isn’t realistic, you’ll need to clean the area while remodeling to control the dirt and prevent build-up. 

Here are a few ways you can clean daily to keep the dust under wraps:

  • Vacuum

  • Dust

  • Wipe down surfaces

  • Sweep

  • Open windows while cleaning

6. Check and Change Your Filter

man replacing hvac air filter
Photo: The Toidi/ Adobe Stock

While you’re trying to keep dust particles to an all-time low while remodeling, you’ll likely miss something. The dust you miss can make a home in your air filter. When your air filter is clogged up, it can lead to low air quality and poor energy efficiency. So check your air filter—during or after the project—and clean or change it. 

7. Use Dust Control Methods

Another way you can keep reducing the dust in your home from remodeling is by using dust control methods. 

You can:

  • Use plastic sheeting to isolate the area of your home that you’re remodeling

  • Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter to trap dust

  • Use power tools such as sanders and table saws with dust control designs or dust collection attachments that minimize dust

  • Remove or cover furniture to keep dust from embedding into it 

  • Use sticky mats to minimize dust transfer from room to room

Some methods would need to be implemented or used by your pro, but it’s always worth discussing this with them during the planning stage.  

8. Consider an Air Purifier

Air purifiers will filter pollutants out of the air that passes through it. Though, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), they only reduce indoor air pollutants—not remove all of it. However, when your HVAC system is pulling air from your room to control its temperature, it won’t pull air saturated with dust particles if you use an air purifier.

9. Call an HVAC Pro to Service Your Unit

Even with the above solutions, renovation projects can take a toll on your HVAC system. Once everything’s done, and the dust has settled, contact an HVAC service to service your unit. They’ll check your entire system to see if everything’s running correctly or if there’s something that’ll need your attention.

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