Broom: Begin your cleaning task by sweeping off the vent covers. It may sound simple, but this step will help to remove most of the dust and allergens that get blown around the easiest. When sweeping, start at the top of the vents and work your way down so that you do not spread any of the dirt and dust to a location that you have already cleaned.
Remove covers: Next, remove your covers from the vents and set them aside. Most vents are held in place by four screws, typically Philips head. Place the screws with the vent covers so you do not lose them.
Vacuum: Pull out your vacuum and place the hose into the vent so you can remove any major dust bunnies. You may want to tape the attachments to one another so that they do not fall off and get lost in the vents.
For smaller vents, you can simply create a temporary cover for the vent out of paper. Cut a hole into the middle of this cover, and place the hose into the middle of the hole and tape the vacuum hose to the cover. Allow the vacuum to run long enough for most of the ambient dust and allergens in the vents to be cleared out.
Replace filters: While technically not a part of the vents, the filters play a major role in the maintenance of those vents. Once every couple of months, you need to take the time to replace the filters in your HVAC system. Clogged filters prevent fresh air from coming into the home, while spreading dust and allergens throughout the home which makes cleaning your vents a more time-consuming operation.
Replace covers: Once you are finished cleaning your vents it's time to put everything away. Replace your vent covers by holding them in place and screwing all the screws back into their proper holes.
Keep in mind that periodic self cleaning will not remove all of the contaminants and dust that can accumulate throughout your vent system over the years. For deeper cleaning, it is necessary to hire professionals. They will have the proper tools to reach every nook and cranny of the air vent system. For most homes, having the air vents cleaned every year or two is all that you need to do.
By Cricketnc from Parkton, NC
Change to my last tip:
I suggested putting filters in your vents. Don' do that! I did that and it blocked the air flow coming out of them. So I wound up taking all the little filters out of my vents.
Thanks for letting us know, we removed the final tip. (06/30/2009)
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