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How To Clean Your HVAC Return Vents

Homeowners realize that it is easier to employ the do-it-yourself method sometimes to household projects. That realization has definitely extended to the cleaning of ducts and vents in the HVAC system in the house.

It isn’t a bad idea to apply DIY to cleaning HVAC return vents; at least you save the money to be spent on hiring professional cleaners, coupled with the other benefits such as enjoying a clean airflow in your house and eliminating health hazards.

However, to make a DIY project on your HVAC return vents, you need the proper know-how and the proper equipment to carry it out.


Besides that, cleaning out your HVAC vents isn’t exactly an easy task, so, this post acts as a guide to properly clean out your HVAC return vents.

HVAC vents

How to clean your HVAC return vents

Step 1: Acquire the right equipment before starting

You definitely need the right equipment to clean out your HVAC return vent, Afterall, equipment is more than half the reason you call the professional vent cleaners in the first place; they’ve got the right tools for the job, and that doesn’t mean you can’t too!
You’ll need A Vacuum cleaner.

A conventional vacuum cleaner will do just fine, just make sure it has a decent enough hose which allows you to reach into tight corners. For the best results though, a heavy-duty vacuum cleaner is necessary.

A regular brush with a long handle works fine for the job, but for the best results, stiff bristle brushes are the perfect ones. Also, you’ll definitely find screws and other fastening bits when working on a vent, and what else to do with these screws? A standard screwdriver would help you unfasten these screws easily.

The other things needed is the Cleaning Cloths (or Paper towels) and a furnace filter.

Step 2: Cover all Supply Registers

Since you would be cleaning your HVAC return vents thoroughly, it is only right that you cover the supply registers with paper towels or microfiber cloths, to avoid dust entering the other areas of the house.

You just open up the grills, cover using paper towels and replacing the grills.

Step 3: Turn on the fans

It’s good practice to get the fans running just before you begin cleaning the vents. It helps to loosen up the dust particles and get them to move around more easily, as you begin to clean.

Take care not to switch on the heat supply though.

Step 4: Start cleaning the Supply Registers, Air Registers, and Air ducts

Now to the main activity; clean out the supply registers. Use the vacuum cleaner or the brush, depending on the magnitude of dust you find in there.

Raise up the registers and sweep out the dust and debris, paying attention to the depth of the registers’ piping system. Don’t leave out the Air Registers and air ducts; unscrew the ducts and grills you come across and clean them using cleaning cloths.

Step 5: Replace the Furnace filters

After all that cleaning, your furnace filter must have been affected by all that debris, so it’s important to replace it.

you don’t want to be stuck with a malfunctioning furnace filter, and if you’re not sure how to replace it, call for professional help.

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Michelle Paulsen

Michelle, a former author for renowned tech publications TechCrunch and The Verge, has established herself as a prominent figure in technology journalism. With her deep industry knowledge and experience, she excels at breaking down complex tech topics into engaging, reader-friendly articles. Known for her sharp analysis and compelling storytelling, Michelle has a proven track record of enlightening readers about the latest tech trends and innovations.

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