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Can You Crawl Through an Air Vent Like in the Movies?

It’s almost Valentine’s Day! We want to say, we love you. That’s why we’ve created a master list of the TOP 3 energy hogs, so you can save $100s per year.

We’ve all watched a scene like that! And we wondered if it was actually REALISTIC (even though we don’t watch action movies for their hyper-realism…)!

So without further ado: Is it actually possible for a human to crawl through an air vent to get from one room to another? Is it dangerous? Would you get stuck or hurt? Could anyone even fit?

Well, there isn’t a cut-and-dry answer to this question.

There are a lot of factors, such as how sturdy the ductwork is, the size and shoulder width of the person, and the layout of of the ventilation system.

The way it’s portrayed in movies, the character not only seems to have the vent system schematic committed to memory…but is also easily able to travel in a straight line to move from room to room.

Realistically, there would be bending and narrowing in the ventilation shaft that would make it very unlikely that you would be able to travel from where you entered, to your desired destination!

Now, let’s switch from simple logistics to the possibility of crawling in the sheet metal of an air vent at all. Movies don’t show characters getting cut open by sheet metal. But that’s what would happen! If you are crawling on your elbows and knees through an air vent, it is not going to be perfectly smooth and will have joints, flared parts, and rough edges.

After all, it makes sense that ducts are made so they don’t have sharp edges on the OUTSIDE. But there’s no point to making sure they don’t have sharp edges on the inside. It’s not like air can get cut. But you certainly can. Yeowch!

But let’s say it’s an ideal situation: you’re able to get into the main trunk, which happens to pass through the room you need to get to. Let’s say you’re a small, light person (wearing clothes that will help you easily glide over the metal!) and it’s sturdy ductwork. Let’s also say that there are no wire screens in place to prevent animals, or humans, from crawling around and making trouble. Let’s even say that there is no security in the building, because another factor would be how much noise you’re going to make banging repeatedly against sheet metal.

Let’s say all of that is true…

You just may be able to do it!

After all, there was that one story of prisoners escaping Alcatraz through the vents.

As with most crazy HVAC situations, you’d better just not let something like that happen in the first place. 😉

We won’t be helping you if you get stuck in your vents, but we CAN help you if you’re having any other ventilation issues, such as moisture in your ducts, air leaking, a broken fan…

If you’re not feeling much, or any, air coming through your vents, contact us or give us a call at (509) 248-8368 . Just think of us as the heroes coming to your rescue!