May 1, 2024
How to Clean and Replace AC Vents for Better Airflow

AC vents are vital to your home because they circulate hot and cold air throughout your home, keeping it comfortable for all seasons. It’s important to keep them clean in order to produce clean air and increase the lifespans of these vents. It helps keep pollutants out of your home and keeps your air circulating freely. You’ll have the benefit of clean air that’s comfortable and safe.

Before we dive into AC vent cleaning, let’s discuss the signs that your AC vents need a good cleaning.

Signs Your AC Vents Need Cleaning

Nothing has a greater impact on personal comfort than indoor air quality. But a sudden appearance of dust particles, pollen, and fungi can trigger an allergic reaction in anybody regardless of health. Be aware of the following signs of dirty AC vents.

Weak Airflow

Airflow that’s weak or unsteady is a sign of vents that are severely clogged. You may notice restricted or uneven airflow in several rooms, including your bathroom and bedroom. You may begin to see a big spike in your utility bill without results. This means your AC is working overtime to try and keep your home cool. Call a professional for an inspection immediately.

Sudden Appearance of Dust in Your Home

Dust that suddenly appears out of nowhere means that your AC vents need attention. Dust that travels through your AC vents and into your living room could be a sign of a dirty filter or clogged AC unit. Some of this dust may come from major projects done in your area. If you’ve had recent renovation done, be sure to have your AC vents inspected for dust. Also look for any dirt or debris that may be trapped inside your vents or ductwork.

No Prior Knowledge of AC Vent or Ductwork Cleaning

If you just moved into an old house and there’s no previous record of any vent cleaning, call a professional. Ask them to inspect your AC vents and treat them for dirt and debris as needed. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your AC vents.

Sudden Increase in Your Monthly Energy Bill

Regardless of the weather, your indoor climate should remain the same. Temperatures that are even and consistent are good for relaxation and personal happiness.

A sudden spike in your utility bill could mean trouble with your AC vents. When air cannot flow freely to provide sufficient indoor cooling, the problem may be a blocked vent or duct. Consequently, your air conditioner may work overtime with minimal results.

Now that you know the signs, it’s time to begin the cleaning process. Below is a handy guide to an accurate cleaning of your AC vents.

Prepare for the Cleaning Process

The first item on your list is personal safety. Trying to clean your unit when it’s still on is risky because you can get electric shock. It’s important to start the process by turning off your AC.
Next, grab some protective equipment. This usually includes a dust mask and other protective gear when applicable. The mask will protect you from breathing in any irritants such as dust, pet dander, and other debris.

Remove the Air Vent Covers

In most homes, air vent covers are usually located on the ceiling, floor, or wall. This makes them easy to access for a quick cleaning. Using a screwdriver, remove the vents, and wipe them down using a damp cloth. For best results, use a microfiber cloth. The nylon in microfiber attracts dirt, dust, and microorganisms, and it removes particles that cause indoor pollution.

After wiping, make sure to clean your vent slats. Use a vacuum with a hose attachment, and get any remaining dust or loose debris. Give special attention to the inside of your vent and around your vent walls because dirt collects more in those areas.

For best results, follow up with a good dusting. Using a long scrub brush or a brush attachment on your vacuum, thoroughly remove any leftover dust and debris. You can use the brush to scrub away any stubborn dirt from your air vents.

Clean With Warm Soapy Water

Using a foam paintbrush, get the inside of your vents with warm, soapy water. Target every corner and crevice to get your dirt or residue. Follow up with a damp microfiber cloth, and remove anything that remains. If you have ductwork, check it for dirt. Use a vacuum with an attachment to remove dust or debris from the inside. For a more in-depth cleaning, call an HVAC specialist.

Address the Cause of Bad Odors

Bad odors coming from air vents are a common problem for homeowners and renters. There could be several reasons why they happen. Sometimes small animals get trapped inside ductwork and die. Field mice and rats are among the top animals to get trapped inside your AC vents. However, possums, pigeons, and even feral cats can also get stuck inside home ventilation systems. Because dead animals carry viruses and other harmful bacteria, they are health hazards, so immediate removal by a professional is strongly advised.

There are other reasons you could be experiencing a foul odor. Your filters may be clogged and in need of changing. If you live in an urban area located near a factory or a busy freeway, your filters may need to be changed more frequently. Exhaust fumes, industrial pollution, and smog can get inside your filters and contribute to a foul odor. Check your filters, and replace them as needed to prevent further problems.

Another culprit is mold and mildew. Both of these fungi grow in dark, damp environments such as ductwork and AC vents. Water from recent downpours or AC leaks form condensation that facilitates fungal growth inside your AC vents.

If you notice a musty odor coming from one or more of your AC vents, the problem may be mold or mildew. In other cases, these fungi could emit a vinegar-like smell or an odor that’s similar to rotting leaves.

The best way to rid your AC vents of this problem is with a thorough scrubbing. Start by removing the vent from your ceiling, wall, or floor. Rinse it thoroughly with a garden hose, spray it with a disinfectant, and allow it to soak for 10 minutes. Rinse it again, and then pat it dry, and screw it back in.

How Often Should You Clean Your AC Vents?

Cleaning your AC vents is a vital part of preventive maintenance, and an excellent way to improve air quality. A good dusting and a thorough wipe down of your vents allows clean air to flow freely without disruption. Do a deep clean at least once a year, preferably during the spring before it gets too hot.

A comprehensive annual vent cleaning is good for your entire HVAC system. It allows good air to flow freely throughout your home and keeps indoor temperatures at a steady level. Plus, it prevents dust from collecting inside your vents and circulating inside your home.

Call the Pros

BEST Air Conditioning Plumbing Repair provides many services for your home, including cooling, heating, and air purification. We offer a variety of HVAC products like furnaces, heat pumps, thermostats, and air conditioners to keep your home at a good temperature during all seasons. Call us today to learn more and to get an estimate on our maintenance programs and more.

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