When Spring Cleaning, Don’t Forget the Fans

Spring is here! Have you started cleaning yet?

With the frigid weather behind us, many homeowners are opening up the windows and getting into every dusty little corner of their homes, pursuing a fresh feeling for a fresh season. If you’re joining them, don’t forget to look up -- those fans could use some love, too.

More Than Mere Appearances

You’ve probably seen a neglected fan at least once. Dust bunnies the size of golf balls can cling to blades that haven’t been touched in months. But as unsightly as this is, your health is an even bigger concern.

Fans circulate air around your home, and if the blades are dirty, that air is dirty. Invisible particles of dust, allergens or even mold can get kicked into the air and into your lungs. If any member of your household has serious allergies, respiratory health concerns or other needs for high indoor air quality, you should be cleaning your fan blades at least once a month.

Start at the Top

Ceiling fans are often the fans we first notice as being in need of cleaning. Dangling right over our heads, any visible layer of dust is on display -- and since many ceiling fans have built-in light fixtures, that dust gets plenty of visibility.

Fortunately, most ceiling fans are easy to clean with just a stepstool and common cleaning supplies. Start with a vacuum hose attachment if there are big clumps of dust, then use your favorite duster to get the rest. Since dust may fall, it’s helpful to cover any furniture below with a sheet first. Finally, finish by wiping down the blades with paper towels dampened with the appropriate cleaning product.

Exhausted Yet?

The exhaust fans in your kitchen and bathrooms may be out of sight, but they shouldn’t be out of mind. This is especially true for your kitchen range exhaust fan, which can build up with grease and pose a fire risk over time.

You should refer to your original fan documentation if you have it, but fortunately, most exhaust fan assemblies are fairly straightforward. Begin by shutting off the breaker to the circuit that powers the fan. Then use a screwdriver to remove the fan cover and filter, if there is one. These can be soaked in a sinkful of hot, soapy water while you clean the blades.

Carefully clean the blades with a wet, soapy paper towel. If there’s stubborn grease on your kitchen fan, you may need to use a small scrub brush. Dry the blades thoroughly after cleaning. Finally, rinse and dry the filter and cover before reassembling.

Not Quite Finished

Box fans, pedestal fans and other standalone oscillating fans collect dirt and dust like any others. If you’re lucky, though, yours will disassemble for easy cleaning.

If you can remove the guards around the blades and the blades themselves, just give them a soak in a bathtub full of hot, soapy water. It’s much faster than trying to get into every little slot with a duster. Just be sure to wipe and dry each part thoroughly before putting the fan back together.

Keeping your fans clean is generally an easy job. Keeping them in good working order can be a little more complex. If you ever need repair or installation assistance, give your local HVAC specialists a call.

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