Routinely Maintain Your HVAC Plenum for Better Air Quality

Time: 30-45 minutes

TV is on, couch is cozy, snacks are yummy — with all that, you probably don’t even notice the work of your HVAC plenum (and who can blame you). This specialized air-distribution box (or boxes) cleans the air and controls airflow. Keep your air quality high and your HVAC system efficient by routinely maintaining your HVAC plenum.

What's in it for you?

  • Improved air quality
  • A more efficient HVAC system
  • Less HVAC operation noise

Maintaining Your HVAC Plenum

  1. Locate your plenums. You’ll need to find two of them — supply and return. The supply plenum attaches to the front of the air duct that hooks your HVAC unit to your home. The return plenum is on the opposite end of the HVAC duct system so it can pump used air back in.

  2. Clean the air filters. Grab a screwdriver, open the supply plenum, and find the air filter. Take it out and run it under warm water to remove any dirt or dust. Put it back.

  3. Get rid of moisture and contaminants. All you’ll need is a stiff sponge or wash rag and some elbow grease. Scrub the inside of the plenum to stop mold and other contaminants from growing in your HVAC system.

  4. Listen for motor problems. Run your HVAC system — do you hear any grinding noises inside the plenum? If so, open the plenum from the side and find any gears in its motor. Add a drop or two of 10W30 oil to stop grinding and damage.

  5. Fix the positioning. Plenum can shift, resulting in air leakage — not good. Inspect the position of both plenums and adjust them so they are flush with the ducts. Prevent future shifts by tightening the screws connecting the plenums to the ducts.

  6. Clean the supply screens. Find the supply screens on the ends of the duct, where they filter out contaminants from circulating air. Remove them by unsnapping the hinge and wipe them down with a clean rag. Return them to the duct and snap the hinge shut — You’re done.

Pro Tip: Add duct tape around the edges of your HVAC plenum ducts to hold them in place and minimize air loss.

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