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Air Vent Cleaning

Cleaning your air vents helps reduce allergens and respiratory issues. The air conditioning and heating systems will last longer when it is kept clean of dust, mold, mildew, and varmints. Servicing your air ducts can be costly when you hire a technician; therefore, doing this job yourself may help maintain the ducts. Some homes have attic systems while others have underground systems. Both systems have similar cleaning methods. Equipping yourself with the right supplies and knowledge will lead to the best results of a clean air vent system in your home.

How to clean air vents

Following the proper steps will help maintain a healthy and clean air vent system.

  1. Shut off heat or air conditioning – Shutting off the heater or air conditioning system is the safest way to begin the cleaning of the air vents. You want to vacuum out the actual vent before beginning. Cover the floor with plastic, or something similar, to ensure you do not get dust and dirt all over your floors.
  2. Turn on the fan – Running a fan while cleaning the ducts will help loosen any dirt build up.
  3. Check the filter – If the filter is very dirty, replace it with a new one.
  4. Remove vent covers – Using a screwdriver, remove all vent covers. Place covers in warm, soapy water to wash the dirt from them.
  5. Loosen dust – Loosen the dust build up by knocking on the air vents with the handle of a brush or broom.
  6. Wash vents – Wash the inside of vents after the cover is removed, as far as you can reach with a warm wash cloth.
  7. Clean return air register – Sweep the return air duct.
  8. Vacuum ducts – Using a long hose with attachment, clean out the air vents as far as the hose will reach.
  9. Dry vent covers – Ensure that the vent covers are dry before placing them back on the air vent.
  10. Cover air vents – Recover the air vents with the vent cover.

Gathering supplies

The following supplies are needed for proper vent cleaning.

  • Filter – you will need to purchase a new furnace filter to ensure the dirt doesn’t return to your air vents right away.
  • Vacuum – a regular vacuum cleaner will be efficient for the job. Make sure you have a hose and proper attachments.
  • Cleaning brush – be sure to have a good strong bristled cleaning brush for the more sticky dirt and residue build – up.
  • Screwdriver – you will need either a Philips head screwdriver or a flat head screwdriver to remove covers from vents.
  • Paper towels or wash cloth – this will help clean the air vents and prevent a lot of dust
  • Broom – you will need a broom to clean up after the air vents are done
  • Ladder – you will need a ladder if your air vents are on your ceiling
  • Goggles – using safety goggles or glasses will prevent debris from falling in your eyes

Cleaning main duct access

The main air duct proves to be the place with the most dirt buildup, and cleaning it will help keep your air filter and smaller air ducts clean. You will need to remove the end caps from the duct work to gain access. Once you have access to the main duct, take your vacuum hose and vacuum out the main duct and the end caps. In a basement, the duct work will contain registers that need removed as well. Ensure that you have replaced all parts and they are secure and in the proper place when finished.

Reducing dust and moisture

To reduce dust in your ventilation systems, use a high - efficiency air filter, change the filters on a regular basis, check for clogs, and ensure you have an adequate amount of filters to use. When a technician services your heater or air conditioning unit, ask the technician to clean the cooling coils and be sure to drain the pans. Keep dust to a minimum when renovating or remodeling your home. Cover the vents with plastic before beginning. Dusting and vacuuming on a regular basis, and cleaning air vents will help with this process. Prevent the air ducts from getting wet as moisture could add to the growth of mildew and mold. Repair any leaks or water damage.

The cooling coils are designed to remove the water from the air and can be a source of moisture contamination. This extra moisture will contribute to mold growth, and the pan needs to be able to drain properly to avoid mold build – up. The ducts need to be properly sealed and insulated in all attics and crawl spaces to prevent extra moisture from entering the ventilation system. 

Extra dust will make your system work harder and can cost more money. A buildup of these dust particles, moisture, varmints, and pollen can weaken your air conditioning and heating system. This can eventually add extra wear and tear on your air vents. Moisture causes mold spores which can be released into your home and can cause allergic reactions and respiratory illnesses. It is suggested to apply chemical biocides to kill the mold inside of the ductwork and ensure your air is safe. There are benefits to cleaning your air ventilation system on a regular basis. Keeping them clean will help avoid musty smells as well.

Signs the air duct needs to be cleaned

Look for the following signs when determining on whether to clean your air vents.

  • Visible mold growth – inside or outside of the air vents
  • Rodents and insects – infested with rodents such as mice or insects or traces of feces
  • Clogs – clogged ducts with dust or debris
  • Musty smell – if your home and air vents smell musty it is time to clean them
  • Mildew – green, brown or black spots in or on the ducts and vents. This can also be seen on the ceiling, floors or walls around the registers.

Regular cleaning will help keep your air conditioning and heating system running properly and will last longer. The reduction of moisture will prevent rust and mildew. Change the air filters on a regular basis. 

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