How to Remove Return Air Grille

I will show you how to remove return air grille. This is important if your unit has been installed improperly and the exhaust venting is not functional. The first step is to find the screws on either side of the grille and unscrew them, but only enough so that they can be pulled out.

Removing  Return  Air  Grille

After removing one side, repeat with the other side and pull straight up on the edge of the grille closest to where it was screwed in at. Be careful as this may cause sharp edges or metal pieces from popping out, which could hurt someone or damage something else around the area.

Once removed, ensure no shards are left behind by using a vacuum cleaner nozzle attachment with an extension tube hooked up to eliminate any particles around the area before proceeding.

Step by Step Guide on How to Remove Return Air Grille 

Step One:

Determine where the return air opening is. This can be done by removing the floorboard or removing a wall from the room. Additionally, you will need to remove any furniture or items that may impede access to said area.

Step Two:

Figure out what type of system you have for your home’s heating and cooling. If you have a forced-air system, you will likely have an air-handler in that return air opening. If this is the case, skip stepping three. If your home does not have a forced-air system, you will know if you do not see any ducts, your heating and cooling are likely provided by hot water or steam, which can be found by searching for a boiler or furnace.

Step Three:

If you have a forced-air system, you will need to remove the front panel of your air handler. This can be done by removing screws around the panel and sliding it off. If your return air opening is not accessible from this point then follow step 4 and 5. If your return air opening is accessible from here, there is no need to follow steps 4 and 5.

Step Four:

If you do not have access to the return air opening, you will need to remove the supply plenum on your furnace or boiler. You can find this by tracing down your run of supply ducts until you get to what looks like a junction box. This is the plenum, and you will need to remove screws around this box, pull it out of its compartment, and disconnect any wires attached to it.

Step Five:

If your return air opening cannot be reached from step three, you will need to follow this step and four for both the furnace/boiler and the air handler.

Step Six:

Removing  the Screws  of  Return Air  Opening

Now that you have removed any obstructions in your return air opening, you can proceed to remove the grille itself. Start by removing all visible screws around the perimeter of the grille until it is completely loose. Depending on your reach, you may need to stand on a ladder or use a screwdriver to remove the screws.

Once you have removed all of the visible screws around the grille, pull outwards with firm pressure to get it to come loose. If there are any wires attached at this point, then follow step seven before continuing.

Step Seven:

If any wires connected to that return air opening, you might need to disconnect them to get the grille out. You can do this by pulling off wire caps and detaching wires from their respective ports on the air handler or furnace/boiler.

Step Eight:

You can now put everything back together by following the reverse steps of the ones listed above. When reinstalling your return air grille, use screws that are strong enough to hold it in place but avoid tightening them too much as this could damage both your grille and system.

How Do You Clean a Return Grill?

Cleaning  the  Return  Air  Grill

If you have a return air grille on your ceiling, it is probably necessary to clean the grill periodically. It may collect dust and need cleaning more or less often depending on your home’s heating and cooling needs, how much traffic it gets from people walking over it, pets brushing against it -and the resulting trail of fur- and how often you or someone else dusts it. You can also see if the airflow has been reduced, and this is causing your heating and cooling system to work harder, increasing your utility bills.


The return air grille is a common obstacle to remove in the home. However, if you are looking for an easy way to get rid of this bothersome part of your ductwork, there are many different options available on the market today that can help make this task easier.

For example, if you have access behind or above where the vent cover needs to be removed, it is possible to install a new one without having any screws, nails, or glue showing at all. The conclusion paragraph should be a list of how to remove return air grille in different situations.

Check it Out – How to install a return air vent in wall

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