I looked up yesterday to see if the fan vents were open and YUCK! The screens and fan blades were filthy! They were so dusty I was surprised the fan was drawing air out at all. In all fairness, we had just spent six months in the desert and the vent does have a decorative slotted wood trim piece covering it, so I really had to look through it to see the screen…
It was certainly time for a deep cleaning. The dirty screen could only hinder airflow and be harder on the fan motor.
Here’s what I did to clean it:
Steps to a clean roof fan vent and screen
- First, I easily pulled off the wood trim piece – it just snaps in place with cabinet grabbers.
- I went over the area with a vacuum but nothing budged – the dust was stuck.
- I Googled ways how to get the screen off without breaking it. A number of instructions came up:
- One person posted that when he changes the screen, he finds the finger indent and starts putting his fingers all around the inside pulling down and swearing softly. When finally getting the “*&$# off” he hands it to his wife to put in the dishwasher and has a beer. At least I didn’t have the expectation it would be easy.
- Another person gets on the roof and pushes the tabs down so the screen doesn’t break. That sounded like too much work. Anyway, it would mean taking the bicycle and bicycle rack off the ladder and that really was too much work…
- I took the first suggestion and just ran my fingers under the screen starting at the finger indent, gently tugging downward. Without swearing softly, although I do think that would have helped, it popped off without shattering and I was able to really see how dirty it was. Success!
- Next, I sprayed the screen with 409, brushed it, rinsed it, and repeated those steps. Then I set it aside to dry. For anyone that loves 409 and noticed it has not been available, Amazon now stocks it again.
- I stood on a low stool to wipe off the fan blades. The fan blade can also be taken off but wiping each blade individually worked well.
- Next time one of us is on the roof, we will wipe off the inside and the exterior of the vent cover too.
- Finally, I reinstalled the screen, popped in the wood trim, and could see the sky again. A breath of fresh air, literally!
Helpful cleaning vent fan and AC filter videos
Both videos below were helpful to me when learning different cleaning techniques. The second one shows cleaning the AC filters too – another thing that should be done!