All the fun of winter and the holidays is right around the corner. Before you settle in to enjoy it, there are some jobs you can do around your home to prepare for winter weather. Your HVAC system, in particular, needs to be ready to keep your family comfortable in cooler temperatures. In addition to routine maintenance, one of the best ways you can prepare your furnace for winter is to clean your heat vents.
Heat vents and air returns collect all the allergens and other particles that are in your air year-round. By cleaning them periodically, you help your HVAC system run more efficiently. You also improve the indoor air quality in your home.
Steps for Cleaning Heat Vents
Step 1: Find your supplies.The main thing you will need is a vacuum with a brush attachment. A microfiber duster or even microfiber cloth will also work if you don't want to use a vacuum. In addition, you may need a screwdriver, a flashlight, and a ladder or step-stool if your vents are up high.
Step 2: Dust the vent covers.Loose dust should come off easily with your vacuum attachment or duster. If dirt seems stuck on, or if there is dirt where you can't reach it, you may need to remove the vent covers to clean them.
Step 3: Wash the vent covers (optional). If your vent covers need more than a simple dusting, use a screwdriver to take them down. You can wash them with soapy water. In the case of caked-on grime, soak them for at least 20 minutes in hot water before washing. Make sure they're completely dry before replacing them.
Step 4: Inspect your vents.The interior of the vent may have some dust built up. If so, the brush attachment on your vacuum or a bristle brush will dislodge the dust. If the dust seems much thicker than it should be, that can be a sign of ducts that need to be professionally cleaned.
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Our goal is to help educate our customers in the South Bay Peninsula and Santa Cruz areas of California about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).