Vent Cleaning

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Vent Cleaning

Post by InvestorNewb » Tue Nov 05, 2019 2:04 pm


I live in an apartment complex (rental) and recently asked for my vents to be cleaned. The superintendent responded by saying "we do not perform work on the vents other than in between tenants. " I remember asking for vent cleaning a few years ago and they said the same thing.

I decided to open one of the vents to try and clean it myself but it is absolutely filthy - here is the attachment. The unit needs to be professionally cleaned and the filter needs to be replaced.

I sent the same photo by email to my superintendent and they have flagged the issue with head office. I basically told them I will be moving out if they don't clean the vents since I shouldn't have to worry about air quality and possible health issues.

I realize that laws vary by location but it seems to me that the landlord should be responsible for cleaning the ducts. Am I right in this case? What should I say if they come back and say they won't do it again?

FYI: I have been living at the same apartment for about 5 years and consider myself a good tenant. I have never missed a payment and I rarely contact them at all.
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Re: Vent Cleaning

Post by bloom2708 » Tue Nov 05, 2019 2:08 pm

That looks like a filter.

Can you just take it out and wash it off in the sink? No idea what the vents look like behind. In an apartment, cleaning vents and ducts might be difficult. Ducts is the system of pipes through the walls of the building. Duct cleaning may be a challenge based on layout.

Do you want to move? Moving seems like a drastic step. Maybe you could clean the filter, vacuum what you can reach and then check the filter every 3 months. Like a homeowner would do with a furnace filter. Take the bull by the horns!
Last edited by bloom2708 on Tue Nov 05, 2019 2:59 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Vent Cleaning

Post by Omalley » Tue Nov 05, 2019 2:43 pm

Agree with bloom2708, you have a filter that needs to cleaned and/or replaced. Using the terminology 'vent cleaning' is quite different than servicing the filter, so that could be causing confusion with your maintenance contact. Vent cleaning is a process to clean the interior of the actual ductwork that runs throughout your building/home.

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Re: Vent Cleaning

Post by megabad » Tue Nov 05, 2019 5:32 pm

InvestorNewb wrote:
Tue Nov 05, 2019 2:04 pm
I realize that laws vary by location but it seems to me that the landlord should be responsible for cleaning the ducts. Am I right in this case? What should I say if they come back and say they won't do it again?
Changing filters or duct cleaning? Not a lawyer, but in every area I have lived in, I don't think either would be required by any law or any normal lease. Typically, a smart landlord will keep the intake grill clear of obstruction and filter changed on regular basis because they don't want their HVAC unit to die prematurely but this isn't a requirement I wouldn't think. I have never heard of true complete duct cleaning ever being performed on a rental ever. Cleaning the surface grills and keeping free of obstruction would fall under tenant duties in my mind (if they so desire). Changing filters is usually performed by the landlord (or landlord's service guy) in a professional rental environment (maybe by tenant in a one off rental house situation).

You are certainly in your rights to not renew the lease after expiration and if this bothers you significantly and you have found another place that is cleaner, that is exactly what I would do. That said, this wouldn't bother me personally since I firmly believe that HVAC units are not air purifiers. I have a separate air purifier for that. Works great and I never gave a darn about the landlord's HVAC unit back when I rented because I've always had one (air purifier).

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Re: Vent Cleaning

Post by sreynard » Wed Nov 06, 2019 10:36 am

Whatever that is, I would take it out, hand it the the maintenance guy and ask if they can get a new one. That one looks all used up. :wink:

Alternatively, Home Depot probably has something that would fit...

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