Damaged ductwork can often be difficult for homeowners to spot, but it can seriously affect both your energy costs and your home’s air quality. You should always contact a licensed HVAC professional right away when you suspect that you have damaged or improperly installed ductwork and the surrounding areas.
f you’re encountering any of these common indicators of damaged ductwork, it’s probably time to schedule a service call.
1. DUST BUILDUP AROUND YOUR AIR VENTS
Your home HVAC system isn’t designed to be serviced by homeowners, and your primary service responsibility is changing your air filter at least every 90 days. The filter traps allergens, fungus, and molds that can adversely affect your home's air quality. If you continue to see excess dust or dirt buildup around your vents and registers, it’s usually an indicator of air filtration problems elsewhere in your air ducts. If your air filter looks clean but your vents stay dirty, you might have dust or other solid materials built up inside your air conditioner’s machinery that can lead to costly repairs in the future.
2. SUDDEN INCREASE IN ENERGY BILLS
You already know that you can expect seasonal increases in your utility bills as your home heating and air conditioning needs change throughout the year. Our home energy costs are also subjected to steady ongoing rate increases that occasionally turn into meteoric rate increases. The other reason for a sudden increase in your utility bill is a problem with your HVAC system. If you do get a sudden increase in your utility bill, your ductwork is one of the first areas where you should investigate.
3. STRANGE NOISES
You should always call a professional HVAC technician when you hear grinding or metallic noises coming from your unit because that means that metal parts are grinding together and will likely soon need to be replaced. There are also other sounds that can indicate problems with the ductwork. If you hear booming or popping sounds when your HVAC system turns on, it could be due to ill-fitting or improperly installed ductwork.
4. UNEVEN HEATING THROUGHOUT THE HOME
Some homes have rooms that will be naturally warmer or colder if they’re positioned in areas that receive uneven sunlight, but your HVAC system should still maintain the same temperature in every part of the home. If you have a room that seems to consistently be 10 or more degrees warmer or cooler than the rest of the house, your air ducts could be compromised.
5. POOR OR RESTRICTED AIRFLOW
Airflow problems are one of the easiest concepts to explain. If you have air duct damage, it causes your central HVAC unit to work harder in order to maintain the desired household temperature. The system is forced to run longer to compensate if your ductwork is blocked or damaged, and the additional wear and tear can hasten the need to repair or replace your system.
6. MOLDY OR MILDEW SMELLS
If you have any allergies or respiratory health issues, you already know the dangers of mold in the home. Mold or mildew appears when condensation forms on your ductwork or joints, usually because of poor insulation. You might not immediately notice small amounts of mold or mildew on the exterior of the ductwork, but you should make a service call right away if an overwhelming stench of mildew starts coming from your vents.
7. EVIDENCE OF PEST ACTIVITY
Household pests like to find dark and warm places to forage for food and to breed, and your ductwork offers them in abundance if it offers any points of access. Dead insects or droppings near vents or registers aren’t as obvious as the smell of a decomposing rodent coming directly from the vents themselves, but it’s usually a safe bet that there are more of them nearby. Be sure to contact an HVAC contractor immediately if you suspect that pests are nesting in your ductwork or central unit.
8. VISIBLE DUCTWORK DAMAGE
Last but not least, be sure to occasionally have a look at your ductwork in the attic. You don’t have to root around and inspect every square inch, but you should make sure that nothing heavy leans against your ductwork. A smaller home often suffers from a paucity of attic space, but excess clutter makes obviously kinked, tangled, or dented ductwork more difficult to spot. Your household ductwork seals will predictably deteriorate over time, and it’s typically more cost-effective to replace ductwork that’s over 15 years old rather than paying for repairs.
Reach out to the Airtegrity team today for all your comfort needs!