A Comprehensive Guide on How to Clean Air Vents

Did you know that the air you breathe inside your home can be up to five times more polluted than the outside air? All the contaminants that enter your home, like dust, pet hair, and allergens, can get trapped in your air ducts and possibly cause adverse health issues, especially in allergic people.

Regularly cleaning your vents will help you avoid these risks, improve your indoor air quality, and extend the lifespan and efficiency of your HVAC system.

We’ll explain why regular vent cleaning is critical and how to clean air vents properly in this comprehensive guide. We at Clearview Air Duct Cleaning care about your home’s healthy indoor air quality!

What is Air Vent Cleaning?

Air vent cleaning involves removing dust, dirt, and debris from your home’s air vents and ducts. Not only does this prevent clogging and malfunction in the ventilation system, but it can also improve the air quality inside your home and help reduce or eliminate the risks of adverse allergic reactions, especially if you or a family member is asthmatic.

Sometimes, you may struggle with a vermin infestation, or mold can develop in your ventilation system. Its spores are dangerous to your health if released into your living space.

How Often Should I Clean My Air Vents?

how to clean air vents - Extremely dirty and dusty white plastic ventilation air grille at home

It depends on your needs.

The Environment Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that you clean your air vents only when needed. For example, when there’s substantial visible mold growth, a vermin infestation, or when excessive amounts of dust and debris clog them.

And the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) recommends you get your HVAC system inspected at least once a year and clean it as needed, and notes that cleaning it once every three to five years is a good place to start.

But if you ask us, cleaning your air vents depends on several factors, including your location’s climate and household members. For instance, you’ll need to clean your vents more frequently if you have smokers and pets in your household or allergies or asthma, especially in the spring.

Construction dust can clog your vents and affect indoor air quality if you recently renovated your home or moved into a new one.

Older, poorly maintained HVAC systems can accumulate dirt and debris and function less efficiently. In this case, frequent cleaning or a complete system replacement is a good idea. 

So, ideally, you should inspect your air vents occasionally and clean them when needed.

How Can I Clean My Air Vents?

Cleaning your vents is easy if dust and dirt are the only issues. If you want to do it yourself, you’ll need the following tools:

  • A high-power vacuum cleaner with a hose attachment
  • A dust scrubber
  • A soft-bristled brush
  • A washrag, cloth, or sponge
  • A tub of warm soapy water

Vacuum the visible dust outside and inside the air vent covers or grilles. You can use the brush attachment to reach deeper into the ducts and lift off stubborn accumulation. 

Next, unscrew the vent covers or grilles from the walls and soak them in warm soapy water. Scrub them gently with a sponge to remove dirt and grime, then rinse them well and let them completely dry before reinstalling them. You have to make sure no moisture or water gets into your ventilation system, as that leads to microbiological growth.

Don’t forget to clean your air filter, too. Rinse it with water and let it completely dry before reinstalling.

While your covers and filters are drying, use your high-powered vacuum cleaner to clean the inside of the vents. Sucking up the accumulated dust and debris will help improve your HVAC system’s efficiency and reduce potential health risks. Don’t forget to take the opportunity to inspect your vents for mold growth or infestation during this step.

Finally, reinstall your vent filters and covers and screw them securely.

Note how we only mentioned cleaning dust, debris, and the vent covers and filters. We recommend leaving this job to a professional if you have a severe problem, such as mold growth, vermin infestation, or need to clean your HVAC system deeply.

Our specialized equipment and techniques can help us thoroughly clean your coils, drain pan, blower motor, air filter, and every part of your system to ensure longevity, increased indoor air quality, and energy efficiency.

How Much Do Cleaning Air Vents Cost?

Round color bead with black letter in word cost on wood background

You’ll only need to invest in the tools you’ll need if you clean your air vents yourself. However, labor costs will vary depending on several factors if you hire a professional. They include:

  • The type and size of your HVAC system
  • The frequency and quality of cleaning—the more buildup there is, the more effort and time it’ll take to clean
  • The condition and accessibility of your ductwork
  • The location and climate of your home

The national average for cleaning air vents is $725. According to the EPA, air duct cleaning costs can range from $450 to $1,000. However, it depends on your contractor and the factors mentioned above. 

So, it’s best to get in touch with a professional and receive an estimate if you plan on cleaning your air vents. Our detailed cost guide will give you a better idea of what to expect.

Seek Professional Help

The EPA and NADCA recommend that you clean your air vents when needed or once every few years, but don’t let dust and debris accumulate and compromise your indoor air quality and comfort. You need professional help if you notice signs of a dirty vent, such as reduced airflow, musty odors, or unexplainable health issues. At Clearview Duct Cleaning, we have the expertise and equipment to handle any vent-cleaning challenge. Contact us to get a quote today!

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