Illustration for article titled How To Clean Your Air VentsPhoto: tab62 (Shutterstock)

Though Punxsutawney Phil predicted six more weeks In winter, spring will come faster than we think. And since it was a long quarantine winter, with most of us staying indoors longer than ever, it is likely past us cleaning things like the vents of our homes thoroughly.

There are some pretty complicated ways of doing this yourself leaf blower and Make-shift drill attachmentsbut they’re more of a hassle than it’s worth. To save money and a headache, there are three easy ways to clean your vents and ducts with regular household items.

When to clean

If you’re lucky enough to have central air, you probably don’t think about the vents unless something goes wrong or the filter needs to be replaced. However, changing the filters once a month only solves half the problem if the vent itself just circulates dust and flakes of skin directly into your home. House maintenance center Check home warranties recommends cleaning the vents once or twice a year to keep the paths clean.

Cleaning the vents early in spring and fall helps keep airflow cleaner all year round. However, even more often – two or three times a year – if you have pets or anyone in the household with respiratory conditions such as asthma or chronic obstructive diseases, consider lung disease.

Illustration for article titled How To Clean Your Air Vents

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Three ways to clean your air ducts

You don’t need your own cleaning kit to clean your air ducts (this may be an exciting DIY project for you, but pretty much unnecessary). You can clean them with a few simple household items – especially your vacuum cleaner, a butter knife. a washcloth, a tub of soapy water, and a sponge.

Clean with a vacuum cleaner, butter knife and rag

First, take your vacuum cleaner with the hose extension (or Handivac) and vacuum the visible dust outside of the ventilation opening. (You can also use a Can of air to blast stubborn dust from the vent registers.) Then remove the Vent register, this is the grille over the canal entrance. Some registers are removed with a firm pull, while others are secured with screws and require a screwdriver. Make sure the screws are stored in a safe place so that they can be reinstalled afterwards. Then dampen your skewer with a small amount of water (the rag should be wet but not enough to soak the vent), wrap it over a butter knife, and insert it between the vent blades to remove any dust stuck in it . Home Advisor provides useful tips and instructions for performing this technique on your website.

In the tub

For a more thorough cleaning of your ventilation coils, you can take them to the sink or tub. Soak them in soapy water for three to five minutes to loosen the dirt. Then take a sponge and remove any remaining dirt. Rinse with the faucet or detachable shower head and lay out the registers to dry. This should take between 5 and 10 minutes. If you’re lying around, you can use Turtle Wax or a similar product to prevent future dust from clinging to your air vents.

Illustration for article titled How To Clean Your Air Vents

Go with a vacuum in the vent passages

Use a regular vacuum cleaner or a standard one Shop Vac To vacuum the outside of your vent first, then insert the long hose or arm of your vacuum cleaner into the open duct to vacuum the accumulated dust in the duct path. Repeat for every air vent throughout the house. This may take some time depending on the number of vents. However, it pays to minimize the circulation of dust and allergens in your home.

When to call a professional

If you feel unable to clean them yourself or if you have more serious work to do, consider hiring a professional. The EPA offers a selection list of situations that require professional attention when it comes to cleaning your sewer system, including:

  • Significant visible mold growth occurs in hard surface ducts (e.g. sheet metal ducts) or on other components of your heating and cooling system.
  • The channels are infested with vermin (e.g. rodents or insects).
  • The ducts are clogged with inordinate amounts of dust and debris and / or particles are actually being released into the house from your utility registers.

While mold and rodent infestation are bigger problems for your home, some small components of your HVAC system require professional attention for regular maintenance and cleaning. Hiring a professional is also best for more sensitive parts of your system such as fan motors, heat exchangers, and cooling coils that may be covered in dust. These require a little more experience than your standard homeowner can provide with a vacuum and butter knife.