How to Clean HVAC Return Vents
AC Repair Arlington – The central air and heating system in your home is equipped with supply and return vents. While both types of vents could use some dusting and a good cleaning from time to time, you should pay close attention to the HVAC systems return vents.
What is the Difference between Supply and Return Vents?
Supply vents are connected to the air ducts and blow hot or cool air into the rooms. They are generally found in every room in a home. Supply vents will generally be found either on the ceiling or floor of each room. Whereas return vents do the opposite and pull the indoor air into the heating and air system.
If on the floor, supply vents run the risk of trash, items and particulates falling into them. However, when the system is running, much of the particulates such as dust will be pushed out by the air. This tends to help keep the supply vents free of dust. Return vents, on the other hand, suck air in when the HVAC system is running, and this tends to create a lot of dust rather quickly.
Where are Your Return Vents?
If you are not sure where or what your return vent is, there are some easy methods in determining them:
- Return vents are typically bigger than supply vents.
- The return vents will not have adjustable louvers like supply vents will.
- Sometimes they are in the ceiling but usually you will find them near the bottom of a wall close to the floor.
If you have located what you think is your return vent, but you are still unsure you can always place a piece of paper by the vent. When the system is on, if the paper is sucked towards the vent then it is the return.
Why Should I Clean my Return Vents?
Keeping the return vents clean helps ensure that the HVAC systems operates efficiently and improves indoor air quality. It also helps reduce allergens in the home, reduces your energy bill, and will help keep the filter cleaner for longer periods of time. Which means you may not need to replace your filter as often as you would without cleaning. One of the top problems with central heating and air systems is because some homeowners do not keep their return vents clean and ignore replacing the air filter.
How do I clean my Return Vents?
Cleaning the return vents is a simple straight forward and easy task. Below we break down what you should do and when you should do it.
Every month there are a few tasks that you can do to ensure your heating and air conditioning system runs efficiently:
Replace the Filter – The filter should be changed monthly whenever the system is in use. This is one of the most overlooked tasks that deal with air conditioner maintenance. Write the date the filter was exchanged on the filter itself or a calendar. Better yet, you should set up an alert on your smart phone to remind you when it is time to change the filter.
Clean the Vents – Before you begin, turn off your AC unit. If your vents are in the ceiling, you might want to cover nearby furniture. Vacuum the vents with a dust attachment and then use a microfiber duster to loosen any particulates that the vacuum may have missed. Once clean you can turn back on your air conditioning unit.
What should I do the rest of the Time?
There are other tasks to ensure that your AC system works efficiently throughout the year. You will typically not need to do this monthly and it can be done as needed. Aside from filters and vacuuming, you can do extra cleaning such as:
Clean the Vent Covers – If you want to be thorough, remove the vent covers and gently wash them in hot, soapy water. Use a microfiber cloth and make sure not to scrub too hard, or the paint on the covers may start to wear off.
If you burn incense, use essential oil air fresheners, or have vents in the kitchen, you will want to remove the grease from time to time. One of the best solutions to use to clean off grease would be to use rubbing alcohol as it does not require much effort to get rid of the grease.
Once you have cleaned the covers you can either let them air dry or dry them off gently yourself. Do not put them back until they are completely dry.
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