Most of us wake up on New Year’s Day ready for a fresh start. We want to eat healthier after a month of drinks and cookies, we are ready to clean out our closets so we can put away our new gifts, and we want to tidy up our homes. When you pull out the vacuum for the first time this year, don’t forget about your air registers. Dust can build up on your registers, and then it can end up floating around your air when the furnace blows warm air through the registers. Plus, too much dust can restrict airflow, which means your furnace will waste energy trying to heat your home.
Real Simple has simple instructions for effectively cleaning these registers:
Step 1: Turn off the heat or the air-conditioning. Run the crevice tool of a vacuum over floor and baseboard vents. For ceiling vents, spread a sheet below and wear a baseball cap to shield your hair and eyes; if the crevice tool doesn’t reach, use a tool like the Unger duster ($17, amazon.com), with an extension pole.
Step 2: Remove the vent covers (all you need is a screwdriver); you’ll have to use a stepladder for ceiling vents. Wash covers with dish soap, using a small sponge paintbrush to get into slats (plastic and unpainted aluminum or steel can go in the dishwasher). If you want to soak the covers to get them extra clean, use only hot water—prolonged exposure to soap may take the paint off. Clean inside ducts, as far as you can reach, with the crevice tool or a cobweb duster (Quickie Manufacturing, $40 for four, quickie.com for stores), which has stiff bristles and a rounded head that fits inside ducts. When they’re dry, replace the covers. (The Worst Cleaning Jobs Made Easy, Dirty Job No. 6: Cleaning Heat and Air Conditioning Vents and Radiators, Real Simple)
For more information about keeping your air clean this year, contact Flame!