How to Remove the Heat Register Openings in the Floor


Heat registers, also known as vents, are the slotted vent covers in the floor of many homes and buildings with central heat or air. Removing them is necessary to clean the vent ducts or to make many types of repairs. Simple tools are necessary to dismount heat registers and usually only takes a few moments to achieve.

Things You'll Need

  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • Large flathead screwdriver
  • Remove the mount screws from the register using the Phillips screwdriver. There is usually one on each end in the center. Some registers have one on each side or two on each end.

  • Set the mount screws aside for safe keeping, such as a zip bag or a magnetic bowl. They will be needed to reinstall the register.

  • Pry one side of the register up with the flathead screwdriver. Pull it out about an inch.

  • Pry the other side of the register up with the flathead while holding up the side that was already lifted. This should dislodge the register completely from the duct. If not loose yet, pry each side alternately until it is dislodged.

  • Pull the register straight up and clear of the duct. Clean or repair as necessary. The register is easily reinstalled by placing it back into the duct then reinserting and tightening mount screws.

Tips & Warnings

  • Some registers use square or Torx screws rather than Phillips screws. Check your heat register before removing it to ensure you have the right tools for the job.
  • Place the register back in the duct or place something over the hole it was mounted in whenever you step away from it or leave it unattended. People or pets can injure themselves tripping over or falling into the hole.
  • Be aware that the edges of the duct often reach right up to the register covers. These edges are sharp, so take care when cleaning inside the opening.

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  • Photo Credit register close up image by Ray Kasprzak from
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