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How To Remove Cigarette Smoke From Central Air Vents

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If you live with smokers, the smoke from cigarettes may get in the central air vents long after the cigarette is put out. Second-hand smoke can worsen symptoms in those already prone to allergies, and it is dangerous for healthy people as well. The best way to remedy this issue is to clean the air vents, which you should be able to do yourself. Here are tips to remove the cigarette smoke from central air vents.

Prepare to Work

For this project, you need:

  • rubber gloves
  • ladder (optional)
  • screwdriver
  • damp rag
  • mild bleach
  • duster with extension handle
  • damp dust mop air sanitizer
  • vacuum cleaner with crevice attachment filter

Start the cleaning in rooms where smoking occurs the most. Vacuum the floor around the vents so particles won't fall into them after you remove the covers.

Soak the vent covers overnight using a mixture of warm water and mild bleach to help eliminate smoke residue. Don't pour vinegar down the vent as a cleaning solution , since it could damage the ducts.

If you have ceiling vents, set a ladder under the vent. Use the screwdriver to loosen the screws holding the duct cover in place. Set the covers and screws aside.

Clean Inside of the Vent

Reach down the vent with a feather duster, and remove as much debris as possible. Turn the duster clockwise. Wipe down the sides of the vent with a damp wash rag, and let it dry.

Connect the crevice tool to the vacuum hose, and give the vents and vent covers a good vacuuming. Feed the vacuum hose down the vent as far as you can get it. If you have ceiling vents, clean them with a damp mop to prevent debris from falling on the floor, since dirt will stick to the dampened mop.

Spray one or two squirts of an air sanitizer, such as Air Wick or Febreeze, around each vent opening. You will need to spray more in rooms where there have been the most smoking.

Change Air Filters

It is important to change the filters, even if they are still new, since they could harbor smoke particles. Turn off power to the unit. Look for the filter along the return air duct, and detach the screws with the screw driver, or unhook the clips.

Slide the old filter out. Insert the new filter in its place, and tighten the screws.

Restore power, and let clean air circulate. Avoid the problem in the future by asking guests to smoke outside. If you don't trust your skill, or you have trouble with the unit, contact an air conditioning service.