Can You Put An Air Freshener In Your Home Air Conditioning Vent?

Are you tired of your house smelling like a moldy bag of trash?

Okay, maybe it’s not that bad. But maybe it is! You don’t want your guests to think that you’re living in a dirty pigsty. You want them to come over and have a good time without being accosted by terrible smells.

That’s why you want to freshen your whole house all with one easy solution. Let’s talk about your options for freshening your whole home with air vent air fresheners.

Air Fresheners In Your Air Vents: How It Works

The way an air freshener works is by diffusing pleasantly smelling chemicals or natural substances throughout the local atmosphere. That atmosphere being, of course, your room or building of choice.

The way an air vent freshener works is by diffusing those pleasantly potent molecules into your HVAC system, also known as your regular heating and air conditioning system in your house.

The pleasant smell is vented across your entire house all at once, spreading your scent of choice into all the rooms in your house, all day long.

It sounds like a neat freak’s fantasy: A nice-smelling house all day long.

But unfortunately, for most people it’s going to remain a fantasy. Why? Because most of the solutions for whole-house air fresheners that use your home’s air vents are poorly received by their users. And I’ll tell you exactly why.

The Problem With Air Vent Air Fresheners

Every air freshener has a limited range of effectiveness. This is because the air freshener relies on its nice-smelling chemicals to spread out throughout a local area. Once the area gets too big, there aren’t enough pleasant particles to go around, and the smell become weaker and weaker until you can’t notice it at all.

The problem with the vast majority of air fresheners that are intended to freshen your entire house is simply that houses are big. Putting scented chemicals into an area the size of entire house, and doing so all day long, requires a lot of those chemicals to begin with.

This means that even if you install a scented air freshener into your air conditioning system to freshen your whole house, the scent will often only last for a few days before the air freshener runs out of smelly chemicals.

Also, most air fresheners simply aren’t potent enough to spread their chemicals across an entire house, which could be 2000 square feet or more. The vast majority of air fresheners on the market are only built for freshening a single room.

But alas, you still need to freshen up your home. So let’s take a look at the options, even if they aren’t all amazing.

What Are My Options?

1. Pre-scented HVAC Air Filters

The first option for freshening your entire house via your air vents is to buy a pre-scented air filter that fits into your HVAC intake vent.

Everyone needs to replace HVAC air filters once in awhile. But did you know that you can replace them with scented filters that will help your entire house smell good?

You can find pre-scented HVAC air filters at sites like Walmart. Click here to see an example of the scented air filters that they sell.

However, one problem with pre-scented air filters is that you can’t always find the right size for your air vent. Nor can you find a wide variety of scents to choose from. That is because scented air filters just aren’t that popular, so not a lot of companies make them.

Also, if you buy a scented air filter and you don’t like the scent, you’re stuck with the unwelcome scent, unless you want to buy a whole new air filter. Seems like a waste to me.

2. Attachable Aroma Diffusers That Connect To Your Air Filter

The second option for adding new fragrances to your entire house is much easier, and even cheaper, than replacing your whole air filter.

Instead of replacing the whole filter with a scented one, you simply attach a pre-scented sheet or other device to your air filter. It adds the scent to your air vent, without the need for getting rid of your old air filter (which may still be good) before you need to.

These attachable air fresheners come in a few different forms, depending on the company you buy them from. We’ve gathered some examples that you can click on to view below.

You might notice that all of these attachable filters have mixed reviews. None of them stands out as “really great” according to everyone. The two most common complaints about these attachable air fresheners is that the customer either didn’t like the smell, or that the smell faded too fast.

Whether you like a scent or not is of course totally subjective. However, the second complaint comes back to the problem that we mentioned above: No air freshener is going to last forever, especially if it’s freshening a very large space such as your entire house.

If these options aren’t good enough for you, let’s take a look at some more.

3. Add Scented Oils To Your Air Filter

Another thing you can do is not buy any special air filter device at all.

Instead, because your air filters is already made of absorbent material, just buy some scented aroma oils and put them onto your air freshener yourself.

This is pretty easy to do, and is preferable to the first two options if your primary goal is to freshen your house for a short period of time, such as a day or two that company will be over.

All you do is open up your HVAC intake air vent, and take out the air filter. Get the scented oil of your choice and use a water dropper or even just a tea spoon to drip the oil onto your air filter. The air filter will absorb the scented oils. Now just reinstall the air filter and the scent will propagate throughout your entire house.

There are many great scents available in the form of scented oils. I recommend getting a multi pack so that you can choose the scent you like best. These scented oils are quite affordable.

Recommended Scented Oils:

If you can’t smell the scent after adding it to your air filter, that is a sign that you didn’t use enough scented oil. Try adding more and see what happens.

Depending on how much you use, your house may have a new fresh scent to it for the next several days or even longer. Most people say that a small amount of scented oil will wear off in less than a week. This is a good solution if you’ll be having guests that will be staying with you for a few days and you want to impress them.

For more long-lasting solutions, take a look at the next option.

4. Attach A Clippable Car Air Freshener To Your Air Vent

Did you know that you don’t have to use a car air freshener… in a car?

Instead, some people take the clippable air fresheners that attach to their car air vent, and they attach them to the air vent in their homes. It works like this:

This is a nifty little solution for freshening up a single room in your house. These air fresheners can last for weeks before needing a refill, and some of them even come with a little knob you can turn to adjust the potency of the scent that it puts out.

You can even get decorative air fresheners as well. Take a look at some of the cute ones we found on Amazon:

Some people have gotten even more creative, and added these attachable little clips to their window AC unit. See below:

Pretty nifty, right?

5. Get An Activated Carbon Pre-Filter For Your Home Air Vent

Have you heard of activated carbon? It’s a material designed specifically for removing particles in the air that cause bad odors.

A normal air filter in your home air conditioning system is designed for catching dust, animal hair, and allergy-causing particles. But not all air filters are able to catch the tiny particles that cause bad smells.

Some people use a combination of a regular air filter, plus a layer of activate carbon filter, in order to fully filter the air in their home. The regular filter catches the dust and dander, while the activated carbon filter catches the odor.

You can get what’s called an activated carbon pre-filter. The pre-filter is an extra layer of filter that you attach to your regular filter.

The only downside to using activated carbon is that the carbon in the filter eventually gets “used up” once it has filtered enough odor particles out of the air. This means that, if you want to keep cleansing the bad odors out of your air, you’ll eventually have to replace it, just like a normal air filter.

Activated carbon air filters last for several months. You’ll have to check the manufacturer’s guidelines to see how often you need to replace your specific air filter.

6. Get A Heavy Duty Aroma Diffuser

I mentioned earlier that the biggest problem with aroma diffusers and air fresheners of all types is that they only affect a small, local atmosphere within your home, typically the size of one room.

Well, some manufacturers have tried to solve this problem by producing extremely powerful air freshener devices that are intended to freshen very large rooms, or even entire buildings.

You can see an example of this type of machine by clicking here.

These devices are much more expensive than regular air fresheners, because they are intended to provide a serious solution to the problem of bad smells.

You will also have to refill the scented chemicals that the devices diffuse. Some of these devices will need to be refilled about every 30 days or so, but the exact timing depends on the specific model you get.

Are you really, really serious about getting fresh scents in your home? Then a heavy duty aroma diffuser may be the choice for you.

7. Get A Full Blown Air Purifier

If bad odor is a consistent problem in your house, due to things like smoking, smelly pets, or bad cooking, then this may be the best solution for you.

Generally speaking, when trying to make your home smell good, you’ll have longer lasting results if you remove the sources of bad odor instead of just covering them up with a temporary injection of good scent.

But sometimes you can’t remove the exact source of the odors. We all know that it’s hard to quit smoking. And you can’t stop cooking either, can you? And pretty much nobody is going to get rid of their beloved Fido just because he smells like… well, a dog.

So instead of attaching an air freshener to your regular home air vent, why not create a new air vent from scratch by adding an air purifier to your home?

The air purifier won’t get rid of your dog for you, but it will catch and filter the bad smells that he puts off. So you get to have a nice smelling house, and a cute dog at the same time. That’s a win in my book.

When you get an air purifier, be sure that the one you buy is specifically designed to fit your needs. Some air purifiers focus on removing allergens, while others focus on removing germs.

Most air purifiers will do a pretty good job at catching dust and dander, but not every one supports the type of filter that’s necessary to get rid of bad odors, since the odor molecules are smaller and work differently than regular dust particles. Some air purifiers use the very same activated carbon filters that I mentioned above.

For air purifiers of all types, I recommend the Alen brand of air purifiers. They have some of the most advanced air purifiers on the market.