how to prevent dust buildup on air ventsDoes it seem like there’s always dust build-up on your air vents when you walk by, even if you recently cleaned them? That’s a problem because dust on your air vents can get into the air and irritate your lungs and eyes. This may be especially uncomfortable if you have allergies or asthma.

If you’ve been getting regular air duct cleanings from your HVAC professional, but your air quality doesn’t seem to improve, it’s time to start preventing your unusual dust-build up. Here’s how you can prevent dust build-up on air vents.

1. Change the Filters

Your furnace, air conditioner and a few other HVAC appliances all have filters intended to catch dust and other debris. If the filters are full, they may instead be pumping dust back out to your air vents. Switch up all of your filters and keep doing so every three months to prevent excess dust.

2. Vacuum the Air Registers

Probably part of your frustration with having so much dust on the air vents is that you have to vacuum them too often. We get it— but hear us out. If your register is clogged with dust, it will capture even more dust. A clean register will let dust pass through. It’s the same principle as with furnace filters, dirty ones just make the air worse.

To give the air vent a good clean you should take it off. Unscrew the metal or plastic air register from the wall and vacuum it’s backside. Dust should collect much more slowly now.

3. Choose the Right Vacuum

Of course, vacuuming won’t actually prevent dust buildup on air vents if all it does is spit the dust back out. In fact, vacuums can make your dust problem worse by taking up the dust stuck in your carpet and putting it back into the air for you to breathe—or to settle onto your air vents.

Be sure that your vacuum has a high efficiency particular air (HEPA) capture system. These vacuums will actually trap all of the dust you collect, as long as their filter is cleaned regularly.

Also, it worth noting that if you’re investing in a new vacuum, you might also want to look at where you’re vacuuming. You might be missing a key spot where dust develops. Common culprits are the tops of ceiling fans and light fixtures, the tops of bookshelves and other furniture.

4. Invest in an Air Purifier

Quality air purifiers, such as HEPA air purifiers, can also work to reduce dust by capturing it. As a bonus they can also capture other debris that may be gathering on your air vents, like pet dander, mold spores, and dirt. These can also be respiratory irritants. Running a HEPA filter will improve the overall air quality in your home and can help relieve conditions like asthma and allergies.

5. Brush Your Pets

If you have pets, it’s not just dust building up on your air vents, it’s also pet hair. More regularly brushing your pets seems to just release more pet dander and air into your house, so end the cycle and brush them outside.

Get Your Air Ducts Cleaned

Once you’ve worked to reduce the dust in your home, get the residual dust out of your air ducts with a professional cleaning.