Small children seem to have a way of being everywhere at once. You’ve probably discovered all kinds of things down your register vents – toys, food, paper, keys – things that mysteriously show up despite constant vigilance. If you have a little one, then you might want to consider childproofing yet one more thing – your HVAC registers.
Holding things down
Start by securing the register itself. That way little hands can’t lift it up to slip toys down into the ducts. For wood registers, you can hammer, screw down, or glue the register to the floor. If it’s made of metal, your option is to screw it down. If you’re looking for a less permanent solution, you can attach Velcro strips to the underside of the register and the floor. This will make it more difficult (if not impossible) for your toddler to lift up.
As a stand-alone measure or in addition to securing the registers, you can also cover each register, so the little slits don’t provide a small space for cramming foreign objects. Vinyl covers that magnetically attach to the top of metal registers work well, although they’re easily removed. Still, out of sight, maybe out of mind. They do block the air flow but may be a good temporary solution. Hardware stores also sell air filters specifically designed for air vents. Or you can make your own by using screen mesh or a dryer sheet to create a little hammock that catches things by fastening edges to the bottom of the register with tape or glue.
Perhaps a little hiding might be in order. You can simply block registers from curious eyes by placing furniture in front of the vent. Try not to block the air flow completely, however. You could also simply put a chair over the registers – that might do the trick and also allow the air to flow.
You can childproof your registers – but if you need service for any part of your duct work (including the registers), it’s best to contact a trusted local HVAC company.