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How To Clean Your HVAC Return Ports – LifeSavvy



  A floor-level air outlet in a house with hardwood floors.
Claude Huot / Shutterstock

Your central air and heating system (HVAC) is equipped with supply and exhaust ports. While both types of vents need to be cleaned from time to time, you should pay special attention to the return air openings.

The return air openings blow out hot or cold air, while the return air openings suck the air for recycling in your heating and cooling system. When your supply holes are on the floor, things can fall into them, but when the system is running they expel air, which tends to keep things like dust bunnies out. Return air inlets, on the other hand, suck in air when the system is running and usually become dustier much faster.

How to find your return air openings

If you do not already know which openings they are For returns, there are a few simple ways to find them:

  • Return openings are generally larger than supply openings.
  • Return ports have no adjustable louvers, as is often the case with service ports. They do not want to block or close them because they suck in air, and they can not do that when they are blocked.
  • They are sometimes on the ceiling, but usually close to the ground.

You are not sure if you are looking for a return or supply opening? If your HVAC system turns on, place a piece of paper next to the vent. When the paper is sucked for venting, it returns. Your house has at least one return air opening.

Why should you clean HVAC return air openings?

If you keep your return air holes clean, your HVAC system will work more efficiently, but there's more to it. Clean return air openings reduce the allergens in your household and keep the oven filter clean longer (so that more dust and allergens can be trapped).

Cleaning the return air openings

How and how often should you clean these return air openings? Do you do it? Here is a list of the actions you should take and when to take them.

Monthly Measures

You can take some action each month to ensure the smooth operation of your HVAC system:

  • Changing Filters: In larger homes, the filter is usually located near the oven , In smaller houses and apartments with only one big return, this is often for easy access. The filter should be changed monthly when your HVAC system is in operation. If there is no room to write the date in a filter, write it in your calendar so you do not forget to change it when it's time.
  • Clear Vents: Uncheck this box to switch off your heater or A / C and cover furniture if your vents are in the ceiling. Vacuum your ventilation holes with a dust cover and then use a microfiber duster to loosen everything that is overlooked by the vacuum cleaner. Avoid using water and detergents as they will smear the dust and turn it into a paste.

What You Can Do for the Rest of the Year

There are a few things you can do less often to keep your return ports clean. Apart from the filters and vacuuming, you can perform a particularly thorough cleaning twice a year, including:

  • Cleaning the air vents: Turn off the heater or air conditioner again. Remove the ventilation covers completely and wash them in the sink in hot soapy water. Be sure to use a microfibre cloth and let it soak for a short time only. Do not rub too hard, otherwise the paint will peel off.
  • Removing Oil from Air Vents: If you have many candles burning or vents in the kitchen, you will need grease to be removed during deep cleaning. By rubbing in alcohol, fat is quickly cut off and it does not require much rubbing.

If the inlet covers do not fit into the sink, take them outside to clean or use your bathtub. First, put an old towel in the tub to protect it from scratches from the metal edges of the ventilation slots. Regardless of where you wash them, completely dry the ventilation covers before reinstalling them.

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