When our house was built, the builder sealed all the air vents leading from the HVAC systems out into the house with something resembling the sealer around the top of the baseboards.
I have never lived in a house where I could not remove those vents, clean them and them put them back up. Removing the vents by breaking the seal is going to make a big mess I can tell. Is there any way to clean those vents myself without removing them?
Thanks for your help.
Dustin in Denver
The good thing about the air register situation in your house is that it is newer construction. If you practice good habits from the beginning, the vents won’t need to be taken down for a very long time.
The sealer that you’re looking at is caulk. The good news is that if you absolutely have to remove the air registers to clean or replace them, you can. You’ll just need a utility knife to zip around the seam and then re-caulk it after re-installing it.
Yes, this is absolutely a hassle and if you aren’t careful you can mess up the paint. Let’s figure out a way to ensure the air registers do not need a frequent, thorough cleaning.
These tips work well for any grate, grille, fan cover, or register in your home.
Regular dusting will extend the time between major cleanings by years.
If you’re short and the vent is inconveniently high, you can buy a universal extension for the vacuum. Please measure the diameter of your vacuum’s hose before ordering. Alternately, there are dusters with long arms and extension poles out there. You don’t have to use a disposable option, there are microfiber and wool options, too.
Generally, vent and air register dusting does not have to be a huge event. Knocking the dust off of it on a regular basis is all that is needed.
If you follow the weekly chore schedule around here, you’ll just need to add a small habit to your routine. In our example, Tuesdays are floors, which also means the weekly thorough vacuuming. Whatever room is getting the most focus that week, grab the brush attachment for your vacuum and give the register a quick once over before vacuuming the floor. This order of operations ensures that the dust the vacuum didn’t manage to suck up while the vent was being cleaned, has a second chance to be caught on the floor.
Be aware that if you keep your windows open during high pollen season, you will need to increase the frequency of your dusting. Pollen is sticky and will need to be wiped off before it gets comfortable and forms an unholy bond with your register. In this instance, you may need to break out the next level of cleaning: the damp rag.
Every time you cook run the vent. The fewer sticky particles floating around the house, the better.
Change your HVAC filter on time. This makes sense, right? Right.
Really that’s all that needs to be done to keep your air registers and vents clean. When you next paint the ceiling, by all means, pull the vents down and give it a thorough cleaning, but I guarantee it will be in much better shape than one that has never seen the business end of a vacuum brush.
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