The Forgotten RV Maintenance Task- Cleaning Heat Ducts

camping glamping RV Maintenance

If your camper/glamper is like ours, the air conditioning comes out from the ceiling but the heat comes out from floor vents. What's worse, ours are in the middle of the walkways, and not off to the wall side, like in a house. I am certain when they designed this layout, they never asked a woman about it. Having vents on the floor, where your feet can drop dirt in them is goofy. Those who don’t use their camper during heat season can simply cover the heat ducts with rugs or giant magnet covers. I am, however, living in my camper and of course, using heat here, in North Carolina.

In the past few weeks, I’ve noticed a disproportional amount of dust laying on our flat surfaces. Since we are remodeling our home, our dirty clothes bring in a lot of dust and I just took responsibility. Then we have the ugly reality is we make dust. we naturally shed skin cells, hair, and other organic matter that contributes to the dust landing all over the camper. The exact amount we make varies from person to person but on average, it's estimated that each of us sheds about 1.5 grams of skin a day! Over time and especially in tiny spaces, this dust becomes noticeable. Hey, someone has to feed those dust mites! I know, gross. I choose to live in denial about those!

The housekeeping issue was too familiar. We had the same problem in our 1927 house, which we are currently remodeling. It was dusty all the time. It made me crazy to spend the day cleaning and then the next day, my floors and flat surfaces looked like I never cleaned them. When we tore out all the old HVAC system, the ductwork was filled with so much dust and debris, it looked like it was lined with carpeting! That dust blew out and recycled over and over the house creating dust.

The lightbulb went off. The culprit was our floor vents! I am embarrassed to say, I haven’t cleaned ours since I gave them a paint refresh; about 8 months ago. When I got down there and pulled them off, I was fairly grossed out. 

Cleaning your heat vents is a must-do maintenance task that'll keep your RV's heating system blowing clean air and your glamper feeling, well, cozy.

How to Clean Your RV Camper Heat Vents

Tools needed: flat head screwdriver, vacuum with a hose crevice tool, damp cloth.

  1. Turn off the heat: This is a no-brainer, folks. Before cleaning your vents, turn off that heater so that it doesn’t turn on and blow nasty air into your face
  2. Remove the vent covers. Unscrew and clean one vent at a time and place it back in the exact way it came out. Don't mix them up or you'll end up with a vent cover disaster. The manufacturers don’t get all the holes drilled the same. This is why I do one vent at a time and replace each one immediately.
  3. Clean the covers: Vacuum and wipe with a damp cloth. 
  4. Vacuum the vents: Use a vacuum with a crevice tool attachment and suck out all the debris. 
  5. Clean the vents: Use a damp cloth or Swiffer to reach deeper down the vent. The good news is the air blows toward the opening so as far as you can reach is as far as you need to go. I found a lot of sawdust, from construction in there. If there is a lot, vacuum it out and wipe it, again.
  6. Check the insulation wrap: Make sure the foil wrap from the ductwork is nicely seated. It is very thin, like tin foil, so be careful to not rip it. Just smooth it up and wrap it around the outside edge.
  7. Reinstall the covers.
  8. Lastly, turn the heater back on and bask in the warm, clean air.

Side note: I also went ahead and checked the air return vent. I was very surprised there was no dust in there. You can also check yours.

In conclusion, cleaning your RV glamper's heat vents is a task that shouldn't be ignored. It's quick, easy, and will keep your RV feeling like home sweet home. Happy glamping!

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