Your home’s air ducts are one of those things that are easily forgettable. Tucked away behind walls, under floors and in the attic, you generally only think about them if you notice there’s something off with your home’s comfort levels. Ductwork issues can make it difficult for your HVAC system to achieve the desired temperature in your home. In addition to inconsistent comfort, these problems can also lower the quality of the air you breathe.
Understanding why damaged or defective air ducts need to be replaced and knowing when to do so can help you take the necessary steps to improve your family’s health and your home’s energy usage. Local HVAC repair contractor Albert Air, Inc. discusses more here.
The Impact of Damaged Air Ducts in Your Home
A forced-air central HVAC system utilizes a network of ducts to distribute heated or cooled air throughout your house. Supply ducts send conditioned air into each room in order to maintain comfortable temperatures. Generally, one end of the air duct is connected to the HVAC equipment, while the other is connected to the vents or registers in your walls, ceilings or attic. The conditioned air is then sucked back into the ductwork system via the return ducts to be recirculated inside your house.
Over time, your ductwork may develop holes, tears and misaligned ducts. According to ENERGY STAR®, about 20% of the conditioned air being distributed to each room in your house is lost through these gaps. This can have a big impact on the following:
Energy use. Defective ductwork may cause air to enter unoccupied spaces in your house, including the attic and crawl spaces. As a result, your HVAC system is forced to work twice as hard to maintain consistent indoor temperatures. This puts unnecessary strain on its moving parts, expediting your equipment’s wear and tear, which can shorten its lifespan.
Comfort levels. You should be able to walk from one room to another without feeling too warm in the summer or too cold in the winter. However, expect hot and cold spots throughout your home if you’re dealing with faulty air ducts that can’t distribute conditioned air evenly into each room.
Occupant health. Air coming out of defective air ducts may contain dust, mold, insulation particles, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from household products and other allergens. These particles can find their way indoors, causing allergies and other respiratory problems for you or your family members.
Signs You Need to Replace Your Damaged Ductwork
A reliable heating and air conditioning service contractor can perform tests to determine whether your home’s ductwork requires repairs or just needs to be cleaned. However, they may recommend an air duct replacement if any of the following signs are apparent:
Improper ductwork design and installation. Ductwork systems are strategically designed and installed throughout your house to optimally heat or cool your indoor living spaces while ensuring the top-notch performance and efficiency of your HVAC unit. Unfortunately, some contractors are inexperienced when it comes to designing and installing air ducts. They fail to take several factors into account, including the type of HVAC system and the load requirements for each room. Even simple mistakes like insufficient sealing around registers and grilles can cause the conditioned air to escape, increasing the HVAC unit’s energy usage. With poor ductwork, a brand-new air conditioner or heat pump can’t work efficiently or last throughout its expected lifespan.
Lack of airflow. Proper airflow through the air ducts is crucial to the performance of your heating and cooling system. If they’re damaged or clogged in any way, your home is likely to suffer inconsistent indoor temperatures and increased energy bills. Always check your supply registers to make sure they’re operating properly; they shouldn’t be blocked by furniture or any other obstructions while your HVAC system is in operation. If you set the thermostat to the desired temperature and still feel some form of discomfort in any of your rooms, it may be time to replace your air ducts.
Musty odor. Over time, moisture in your home’s air ducts can lead to mold growth. If you notice a musty smell or odor every time you turn on your HVAC system, this is a sign that your air ducts need to be inspected and cleaned. Conditioned air blowing out of your ductwork may also bring mold spores with it, which, if inhaled, can trigger headaches, nasal congestion, asthma and other respiratory issues.
Age. If properly maintained, your home’s air ducts can last up to 15 years. However, they’re not very rigid, which means they can easily be crushed, kinked, twisted or torn at the joints and seams over time. Another sign of aging is when pests like mice and rats are able to make their way into the air ducts. The wear and tear can restrict airflow or divert it to unoccupied spaces, resulting in costly overuse of energy, poor HVAC performance and overall discomfort within your living area.
The Importance of Duct Inspections
At the very least, you should have your ducts professionally inspected every five years to make sure they’re free of leaks and don’t have any blockages or collapsed sections. A typical inspection usually involves HVAC technicians installing sensors inside the ducts and measuring the speed and pressure of airflow. They perform these tests to determine if there are leaks present.
Depending on the extent of the damage to the ductwork system, the pros may recommend either the thorough cleaning and repair of the ducts or a complete replacement. In the case of the latter, they may install air ducts made of a different material to replace the flexible ducts, such as sheet metal or fiberglass.
When searching for “heating and air conditioning repair near me” online, keep Albert Air Inc. in mind. We’re a leading residential and commercial HVAC contractor, and you can rely on us when it comes to duct installation and replacement. We offer top-quality HVAC products and a wide range of heating and cooling services, including air balancing, maintenance agreements, zoning and indoor air quality improvement.
Give us a call at (714) 526-6368 or fill out our contact form to request a free estimate.