Balloon + Central air duct = ?

So, I’m changing the filter in my central air conditioner/heating system. My 4 year old is playing with one of those punch balloons, the very sturdy type with a rubber band attached. Anyway, I climb off the ladder and move it out of the way so to avoid any dangerous situations. I need a ladder because the filter is over the hallway, about 6 feet from the closet with the furnace (or the furnace outside and the air conditioning unit in the closet?).

Well, as I walk away with the dirty filter, my 4 year old tosses the balloon straight up, and it gets sucked into the duct.

Does anyone have any idea at all how to get that balloon out? I don’t even have a clue where to even start.

Fire some bottle rockets (with report) into the vent. They should pop the balloon. :wink:
If that doesn’t appeal to you, you could try attaching a piece of duct tape, sticky side out, to a broom handle or similar stick-like object, and slide that into the duct work. If the balloon hasn’t gone too far, you should be able to snag it.
If the balloon’s too far in, or gone around a corner, you could try a wad of duct tape on the front of a radio controlled vehicle. Tie a string to the vehicle before you send it in.

Umm, you didn’t turn off the system while you changed the filter??? Egad.

Do you have a shotgun handy? :wink:

If you have one of those 3ft box-fans, how about turning off the furnace, then heft the fan up to the duct and turn it on. Direct the fan OUTWARDS of course. With luck this might pull the balloon down from wherever it went.

How big is your 4 year old? If he’ll fit, strap on a headband flashlight and tell him to get busy. :stuck_out_tongue:

Alternatively you could shut off the main air handler and put a large and powerful floor fan big enough to cover the duct,over the duct, blowing out. This will create a slight vacuum in the duct that may pull the balloon back down to the vent entrance.

My thoughts exactly.

If the fan didn’t suck it out it might be at the furnace cold air intake. take the bottom panel off and look.

From general description in OP it sounds like a split system. The A/C compressord and condenser outside with the expansion (cooling) coil and heater inside. All air ducts inside. Baloon is in the return air duct and depending on relative sizes the baloon may be stuck at an elbow or has been suked down to the intake of the air circulating fan.

There should be an access panel(s) on the unit in the closet so that the ballon can be retrieved.

For future reference:

ALWAYS SHUT OFF THE POWER before doing any work on any powered equipment!

NEVER attempt any severice proceedures with the power ON.

As a last resort call an A/C Service Technician.

Advice for all “Do It Yourselfers.”
When all else fails, read the instruction book.