How to Disassemble Duct Work

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Duct work may need to be removed if mold or asbestos is present.
Duct work may need to be removed if mold or asbestos is present. (Image: ventilation ducts image by Ragne Kabanova from Fotolia.com)

Heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems are the group of appliances and ventilation ducts directly responsible for regulating air quality and temperature. Although the duct work used to circulate heated air is manufactured from galvanized steel sheet metal, disassembling the ventilation system is required when asbestos insulation or mold is discovered.

Things You'll Need

  • Power drill
  • Utility knife
  • Aviation snips
  • Drywall saw
  • Pry bar

Contact the local government inspection office to schedule an appointment to test for asbestos, mold and lead paint. Follow any recommendations by the inspector, based on testing results, such as hiring professional cleaning crews to remove asbestos. Disturbing duct work built, insulated or contaminated with hazardous materials may lead to the development of serious health issues.

Cut sections of drywall obstructing duct work away carefully, using the drywall saw. Damaging electrical wiring or plumbing may cause hazards such as fires or flooding. Use the utility knife to remove the insulation and mastic tape at sections where separate ducts connect, otherwise known as joints. Use the power drill to remove any screws that are located on the joint. Dissever ducts attached with stripped screws by using the aviation snips to cut through the joint.

Use the power drill to remove the screws fastening the duct straps, which support duct work from the studs or ceiling joints. Avoid working underneath ducts, as injuries may occur in the event of duct work falling or collapsing. Place duct work on the floor or a work surface and use the power drill to remove the screws attaching the duct straps to the duct. Discard any air filters or lining found within the duct work.

Detach the register vents from ceiling or flooring joists and studs by removing the screws with the power drill. Insert the end of the pry bar between the register boot and surrounding building material, and apply even pressure to loosen the nails bracing the duct.

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