*****So after all the hullabaloo with cleaning out the vents and seeing how incredibly gross they can get (surprisingly, it wasn't the communal spaces that were the worst, but the bedrooms, ours winning overall which is super crazy because we don't let the cats in there) I knew that we needed to somehow change things if we wanted to be able to breathe throughout the winter.
While I was downstairs digging around for a screwdriver to help me pull apart the newer vents, I stumbled upon a years-old purchase just kind of chilling, waiting for this serendipitous moment.
Over the years, I have most certainly found sparkle balls in the ductwork, as well as little fake mice and feathers and buttons and more recently, play silverware and miniature pony tail holders. To name a few.
So after I found these, unopened, I gave another serious thought to trying to use them to help prevent more cat hair and dust and whatnot from getting in to the ductwork, and to keep the stuff I couldn't reach with my vacuum from spewing all over the house when we finally fired up the furnace.
I read the package carefully to make sure I wasn't going to create any kind of fire hazard by using these (nope), but it is of note that they strongly advise NOT using a vent filter in every single register your home because it can greatly eff with your furnace's efficiency. I ended up forgoing the upstairs bathroom and the dining room because those are spaces we don't spend extended amounts of time in, leaving really the bedrooms, kitchen, and living room to be addressed.
The vintage covers took two a piece and are more precariously placed within the covers, but for ease's sake I'll show you the same living room cover I was working with on Tuesday:
Just a regular pair of scissors was perfect for cutting down the filter to fit my vent cover, with enough wiggle room to be able to close and open the vent cover without making the filter bunch up all funny or wiggle around. Since the vent covers were already disassembled from me cleaning them, this was WAY EASIER than the last time I tried to do this, unaware that I could take it apart to make the whole process easier. I was sticking my fingers through that scroll work trying to inch it along and yeah, that was not fun.
Anyway, this literally took me a matter of seconds per this kind of cover, and hopefully they'll give us 90 days of easier breathing and less grossness as we approach winter.
Once I finished fitting the filter, it was just a matter of snaps to get everything back together and in place.
Sure, the contrast of the white filters and black grates isn't the most awesome looking thing (especially in the rooms where we've refinished the floors to a dark chocolate color), but sometimes you have to sacrifice beauty for things like health and efficiency.
We ran out to Lowe's to exchange some things (which was a super big headache and really a reminder why we stick to the Depot) and picked up new furnace filters while there, because doing all of this work would be pointless without changing that filter left over from the spring (because yes, our A/C is still broken and lord knows when we're going to get it fixed). So while this felt like an all-day venture, that was mostly because the kids were up and about and wrangling them to run errands is worse than herding cats.
And I don't say that metaphorically. I have herded cats before, because I HAVE a herd of cats. I'm kind of skilled at it. Child wrangling is a whole other ballgame.
I was hardcore patting myself on the back when that happened, not going to lie.
We'll have to see about the potential efficiency issues as the season progresses -- it warmed up a little bit the following week and we were able to turn the furnace back off for a while -- to see if our home heats the same or if we notice the furnace struggling or anything, but for now, I'm pretty stoked to see that we could easily handle cleaning our vents ourselves.