Not Ready For Tulsa's Cold Snaps? Clean Out Your Return Air Vents

Tulsa's weather can become cold in November. If you're not ready for the city's cold snaps and changing weather conditions, you may face problems with your heating appliance the rest of the year. One of the things you can do is clean out your return air vents in your ceiling, walls and floors. Air vents are a part of your home's venting system. Registers circulate hot and cold air throughout your home. If you used your air conditioner during the summer and fall seasons, the registers can build up with debris and stop the flow of hot air in your home during the winter. Here's how you get your air vents ready for Tulsa's cold snaps.

Obtain Your Cleaning Supplies

Before you clean your air vents, you'll need a bucket of warm soapy water and three rags. Vents can build up with dirt, dust and other debris if your air filter becomes too soiled to clean the home's air, or if your home contains a lot of contaminants. Dish detergent contains chemicals called sulfates that break down the debris, which makes it easier for you to scrub away.

After you gather your supplies, obtain a ladder to reach the air vents in your ceiling. It's also a good idea that you obtain a handheld vacuum with a long hose attachment. You can use the vacuum to reach the deepest areas of the air vents.

Now, you're ready to begin.

Clean Your Return Air Vents

You may want to start with the air vents in your ceiling, because they're the most difficult to reach and clean. If you can do so, ask someone to hold your ladder for you to prevent accidental falls. Also, place your bucket of water on the platform attached to your ladder to avoid climbing up and down to wet your towels. 

Here's what you do:

  1. Turn off your heating system.
  2. Remove the grill cover from over the opening of your air vent. You may need to use a Phillips screwdriver to do so.
  3. Ask your helper to hand you the vacuum. Place the hose inside the vent to suction it out.
  4. Exchange the vacuum for a wet cloth. Wash down the insides of the vent.
  5. Exchange the cloth with a new one if it becomes visibly soiled.
  6. Use a dry cloth to remove excess water from the vent, then replace the grill.
  7. Repeat the steps with the rest of your home's air vents, then turn back on your heating system's power.

If you notice any strange odors coming from your vents, contact a heating specialist for service. These problems may indicate that something is wrong with your heating system, such as an overheating blower motor. The vents connect to the home's air ducts, which lead directly to your heating appliance. Odors can travel through the ducts and pass through the vents very easily.

For more tips on how to get your air vents or heating appliance ready for Tulsa's cold snaps, call an HVAC contractor, like Custom Services, for help.