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How to Clean Your Air Vents and Ducts

Written by A. Borrelli Mechanical on 03.18.22

How to Clean Your Air Vents and Ducts This Spring

With spring’s arrival comes the annual spring cleaning. However, air vents and ducts are often overlooked. You may not even remember the last time you thought about the task, but cleaning your ducts and vents may offer health benefits, reduce your energy bill, and even extend the life of your HVAC system. 

While we recommend working with a professional service technician to properly clean your ducts and vents, including the registers and interior of the heating and ventilation systems, here are a few cleaning tips you can follow this season:

Prepare to Clean

To begin cleaning your vents and ducts, ensure that your air conditioner is off. Assemble some basic tools including: a screwdriver, vacuum, brush, paper towels, and air filters. If you have ceiling vents, remember to cover any furniture below with a sheet to capture falling dust and debris.

Remove Vent Covers

Remove your vent covers with a screwdriver and wash them in the sink with hot, soapy water or a mild household cleaner. Let the vent covers soak for only a few minutes before rinsing them in cold water and wiping them down with a microfiber cloth. If you notice any rust, apply a rust remover and repaint before reinstalling them.

Cover Vent Openings

Cover the vent openings to your supply registers with paper towels to prevent any dust from escaping while you clean other ducts in your HVAC system. While you will be removing your vent covers to clean, it’s a good practice to replace them once you’ve finished each one.

Removing the Dust

To remove the accumulated dust in your ducts, use a brush handle to tap the walls of the ductwork to loosen the dust and vacuum it up with a nozzle and brush attachment. If you notice there is still dust on the walls after vacuuming, wipe them down with paper towels and repeat for each opening of your ductwork. Remember to reinstall all vent covers when finished cleaning.

Replace Your Air Filters

While you may not have removed all the dust in your HVAC system, you can keep your indoor air clean by replacing your air filters with a new one. This will limit the amount of dust and debris from reaching your vent covers until you decide to have a thorough cleaning scheduled with a professional service technician.

Schedule Regular Duct and Vent Cleaning

While following these tips regularly can help promote cleaner indoor air, you should not attempt to clean most of your HVAC system on your own. Getting your air vents and ducts cleaned by a service technician reduces allergens & irritants, and promotes healthier living.

Topics: HVAC, Air Conditoning, Air Quality, Home Health and Maintenance

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