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Air Opening Maintenance

Maintaining air openings is easy and important. These openings must be kept clean and unrestricted in order for the equipment inside your home to operate properly.

Time Needed:  30 minutes
Frequency: At least 4 times per year
Number of steps: 5
Tools you might need: Safety glasses or goggles, work gloves, toothbrush, shovel, rake, ladder, pruning snips, vacuum with hose attachment
Skill level: easy
What if I don’t do this? Reduced ventilation, serious moisture damage, poor indoor air quality. 

Step 1: Locate Outdoor Air Openings

Locate all outdoor air intakes and outlets. Most homes have several. They may have slightly different sizes, shapes, colors, and they may be plastic or metal. Basically, anything that looks like it may move air in or out of your home needs to be kept free of obstructions and clean.

Step 2: Plan Ahead For Maintenance

Assemble the tools that you will need and create a safe workspace.

Step 3: Keep Them Clean

Clear away obstructions and clean debris from screens and hoods. Important! Avoid damaging metal or plastic hoods and screens!

Step 4: Don’t Plug Them Up

Locate indoor air openings. Openings like these are known as "passive" openings. At times, you may notice a slight cold draft coming from these openings. This is part of their normal operation, and it is very important that you never plug or block these openings. Note: Other air ducts may be connected to mechanical equipment. See also: Ventilation Equipment Maintenance

Step 5: Keep The Area Clear

Always keep these openings clear of obstructions, don’t use this area for storage.

  • Avoid damaging metal or plastic ducts!
  • If you notice any damage, contact your heating dealer immediately.


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This website offers suggestions for how you should properly maintain and operate your home. However, you should always refer to your builder warranty, maintenance and homeowner manual documents for the specific operation and maintenance requirements for your individual home and its equipment.