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How to Clean Your Return Air Vent

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While you're Spring cleaning why not check your return air vent to make sure its not hiding lots of dust bunnies like ours was! Oh and while you're at it, why not give your vent cover itself a nice new coat of paint? Visit our blog to see what I did step by step to make ours look new again.
This is the after. After I totally cleaned everything. The vent, the wall and the actual return space from all dust and dirt.
This is the Before. Before all the dust bunnies moved out!
NOT a pretty site is it? NO! Are you going to check yours yet?
I simply used our shop vac to clean all the yuckiness away. After that I used a Clorox wipe to clean the wall where the vent rested and collect a really fine dust.
Aaaah! There we go, much better now! Dust bunnies all moved out!
I used some primer and white gloss paint to freshen the vent after I cleaned it.
The paint was a little chippy after cleaning it with the wrong cleaner. You can visit our blog to see what NOT to use! A little of the paint combo above fixed that though.
We now have a nice new looking return air vent in the hall way!

To see more: http://ourcloverhouse.blogspot.com/2014/05/how-to-clean-your-return-air-vent.html

  • Paulette Eley
    Paulette Eley Denver, NC
    on May 18, 2014

    Thank you for this!!!!!!!

    • DeeDee
      DeeDee Decatur, TX
      on May 22, 2014

      You're very welcome! @Paulette Eley

  • Lynn5280
    Lynn5280 Bushnell, FL
    on May 26, 2014

    thank you I am going to check mine tomorrow! I clean the intake area frequently but hadn't thought of the output!

    • Lynn5280
      Lynn5280 Bushnell, FL
      on Jul 23, 2016

      i take out the air filter and clean it outside..

  • Stephanie
    Stephanie Fullerton, CA
    on Jun 6, 2014

    Hi Dee Dee, in my previous house the vent was on the wall, close to the floor, attached with regular screws like yours. In my current home, the vent is on the ceiling and has two tabs that move to open or close it. When open it swings down with one side still attached. This is fine if I just want to replace the filter, but I cannot figure out how to get the entire vent cover off so I can wash it. The screws that keep it held on the one side are some kind of spring-loaded device in a very tight area, making it impossible to push a small screwdriver in to release the vent. Plus being on the ceiling makes it even more awkward/frustrating as you can't get a very clear view regardless of lightning or standing on a ladder. Any ideas on a special tool or technique is appreciated!

    • Carol Merrill
      Carol Merrill Bartlesville, OK
      on Aug 20, 2015

      @Clover House, DeeDee Have a heating person come out and look at that. There may be a more efficient way to get air to where it needs to be, like IN the ceiling or at least put in REAL metal channels to where it needs to go. That just seems SOOO wrong.

  • Correy.smith321
    Correy.smith321
    on Feb 10, 2016

    Paulette, that sure must have surprised you from the moment you opened the air vent. It's incredible to see how much dust can be found inside a vent that hasn't been cleaned for several days. Looking at the work that you did had me thinking about doing the same type of work on my vent. I guess it's time for me to find that necessary tools and equipment that an hvac service might use for doing the cleaning work. <a href='http://www.shakleymechanical.com/services.html' ></a>

  • Liz Eades
    Liz Eades Hartsville, SC
    on Apr 1, 2016

    Why do you not use filters???

    • Martha Ward
      Martha Ward Fountain Inn, SC
      on Jan 28, 2018

      I use a filter on my return and not on my incoming heat.

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