6 Warning Signs Your Air Ducts Need Repair or Replacement

January 4, 2024
6 Warning Signs Your Air Ducts Need Repair or Replacement

Inside your HVAC system, the often-overlooked ductwork is as crucial as the HVAC unit itself. Simply put, your HVAC system is like the heart, while the ducts are like the blood vessels that carry blood in and out of the heart.

You may be surprised to know that your HVAC loses nearly 20 to 30% of the air due to improper installation, holes, and leaks. That can cause high energy bills, poor air distribution, poor indoor air quality, and reduced performance.

Here are common warning signs that may indicate the need for ductwork repair or replacement.

Whistle Noises

Your HVAC system produces whistling sounds when there is debris or damage to your air ducts. Constricted ducts cannot adequately accommodate the volume of air your HVAC unit is trying to circulate through them, hence rattling or whistling noises.Additionally, a poorly installed ductwork can lead to pressure buildup in the passageway, making it harder for air to pass through — hence the high-pitched noise. Poor airflow may not only damage your HVAC system but can also raise your energy bills if left unchecked.

Hot and Cold Spots

If you notice dramatic changes in temperature levels as you move around the house, your ducts may have a leak or the ducts may be inappropriately sized to cool and heat your home efficiently. Unbalanced temperatures mean that you might feel cold in one room while another room feels too hot.

The solution to hot and cold spots involves designing and sizing the ductwork properly as well as tightly sealing the ductwork to allow adequate airflow in all rooms.

High Energy Bills

When your ductwork is clogged or damaged, you may notice an increase in energy bills. High energy bills mean insufficient insulation or loss of heated or cooled air through cracks and holes in your ductwork. Whatever the case, a damaged or poorly insulated ductwork will waste energy, and repairs are necessary to allow your HVAC system to operate more efficiently.

Old Ductwork

If your ductwork has been in place for over 15 years now, it's time for a replacement. The ductwork that has been in place for this long often presents serious design flaws such as improper duct size and lack of a proper layout.

Old ductwork will also lack proper insulation, and it could have crushed sections, corroded metal, and gaps. If it's been a decade or so since your ductwork installation, you may start to notice poor airflow, inconsistent temperatures, and reduced comfort.

Unpleasant Smells and Odors

The accumulation of dust and dirt over years of use can lead to a musty scent coming from your air ducts. Unpleasant smells could also point to the presence of foreign debris in your ductwork.

If your house emits mildew or mold smells, poor insulation or air duct leaks could be to blame. Mold in ductwork can lead to severe health problems such as lung cancer and allergies because spores will spread throughout your house every time your HVAC system is working.

Pest Infestation

If you notice insects or rodents inside your HVAC ducts, it points to holes or leaks in your ductwork. Bugs and rodents can gain entry to the ducts via the holes to establish multiple colonies inside your ductwork and cause further damage, such as blocking the HVAC ducts.

Pest infestations will also saturate your ductwork with unhealthy contaminants such as urine and feces, which can, in turn, lead to a damaged duct system, poor air circulation, and reduced indoor air quality.

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