Retrieving Items from Ductwork

Accidents happen and sometimes items are dropped into the floor air vent. This is especially common in households with children. Don’t give up hope. The item is not likely to be lost forever. Also, leaving it in there could damage the ductwork. Often retrieving whatever was dropped down the vent can be easy. Just follow these steps:

  1. Unscrew the cover

To gain better access to the vent, the cover needs to be removed. Find the right screwdriver to take out the screws and place them in a safe area so they won’t get lost.

  1. Use a vacuum

If the object is too far out of reach, or the vent is too small to safely stick a hand into, a vacuum can be used. Simply put the hose into the vent and turn it on. Check the vacuum bag to see if the object was successfully sucked up.

  1. Use a spider grabber

If the item is visible, this could be a better way to retrieve it. A spider grabber, is a long pole with a claw-like extension. Insert it into the vent and gently close the claw around the object to bring it to the surface.

  1. String and gum

If the item is hard and will stick to something, the string and gum approach could work. Generally this should be used on items that are visible. If the item isn’t visible, there’s a possibility it could be pushed farther into the ducts. Take a piece of string or fishing line and attached a piece of chewed gum, tape, or anything else sticky to the end. Lower the sticky end into the vent, and try to stick it to the item before gently bringing it upward.

  1. Call in a professional

If the item is out of sight and the above ideas haven’t worked, it’s probably a job for the pros. The ducts the air vents connect to can turn sharply, making it difficult to retrieve items from them without the proper equipment.

Homes with small children or clumsy occupants can try to limit these instances by placing air deflectors on the vent covers. While the vent is still open on one side, anything that falls directly on the vent is likely to hit the air deflector, instead of going directly in the vent.

Don’t let lost objects stay in the vents. They could damage vents and restrict air flow of the A/C and furnace. The harder they have to work, the higher the energy bill will be.


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