If you haven't had a thrill in a while, let us recommend giving your air vents a clean.

By Patricia Shannon
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If you, like me, are the type who prefers not to stand still and have spent the past few months running through your at-home to-do list faster than the ink can dry, well, let us aid in your quest to never slow down with a task that you might not have thought of yet. It’s AC-vent cleaning time, friends.

If you haven’t been cleaning your air conditioner vents monthly, now is the time to start the ritual. It’ll decrease allergens in your home and also may help your air conditioning unit work more efficiently. The process is as simple as wiping down all of your vents with a microfiber duster or a vacuum with a brush attachment on a monthly basis. But if it’s a deeper clean you’re after, you’ll want to set aside a little more time and the right tools for the job.

Follow these steps for safely and thoroughly cleaning your air vents.

  1. Turn off your air conditioning unit.
  2. Unscrew air conditioner vent grilles and give them a good, thorough cleaning using warm, soapy water and a soft-bristled brush. Let the grilles dry completely.
  3. Use a high-powered vacuum (my tool of choice is a Shop-Vac) to vacuum just inside the ducts, removing any dust or debris. Before you begin vacuuming, take a look for signs of mold or mildew (see below for information how to identify mold or mildew in your air vents).
  4. Secure the grilles once dry.
  5. For best results, repeat this process at least once every 3 to 6 months in addition to monthly dusting with either a vacuum or microfiber cloth.
  6. Don’t neglect your filter! Be sure to replace your air filter regularly. How often it needs to be replaced varies by the type of filter you’re using as well as a variety of other environmental factors. The Home Depot has a helpful guide for determining best practices.

How To Tell If You Have Mold or Mildew in Your Vents

Condensation on your air vents is never a good sign. Where there’s moisture, there’s often mildew. White or black spots on your vent cover, a musty smell, and/or dampness within the vent are all signs you might have mold in your air vents. The best course of action is to hire a professional team to come assess the situation. They’ll be able to determine if there are signs of black mold in your air vents, or any other type of mold or mildew, in addition to being able to give your ducts a good deep clean. If you prefer to do a little research of your own before hiring a professional, pick up an at-home mold and mildew test kit.

If you haven’t had a thrill in a while, let me recommend giving your air conditioner vents a clean. It’s called instant gratification, and it can be yours in a matter of minutes. That still makes it instant, right?