Does your home have healthy ductwork? Keeping a home comfortable during the winter and summer months is important. When it comes to how comfortable a home’s environment is, many homeowners will rarely consider if their HVAC systems have healthy ductwork. The health of a duct system can impact the quality of air in the home and the comfort level an HVAC system can bring. Without healthy ductwork that is clean duct system, your home’s HVAC system will have poor air distribution, odd noises when running, and could even increase the chances of your bill rising or mildew growing in the home. Neglecting this portion of an HVAC system when performing maintenance can end up costing more in the long run as the ducts deteriorate.
As your bill grows more expensive, the comfort in your home will decline significantly. An HVAC system can only push air through a home if your ducts are clear of debris. Any damage to a duct, mildew growth or debris can obstruct the airflow and lessen the amount of heat or cooling that reaches each room in your house. All of these can be avoided easily by hiring a professional contractor that handles air duct maintenance and replacement.
If you’re concerned about the quality of your ductwork’s health, here are six of the most common signs that ductwork could need maintenance or repairs soon.
Unusual Noise from the HVAC Unit
Any heating and Cooling system will inevitably create some noise. Even the quietest models released on the market today have some noise when running. Whether that’s vibrations from the HVAC unit itself or air flowing through the ducts, you will hear some level of noise normally. When this pitch or frequency in noise changes with your ductwork, you know you have a problem.
Rattling or vibrating noises that appear to be originating behind walls or under flooring are usually caused by ductwork becoming damaged. If there are any holes in the ductwork, air will escape through it as it passes through the duct and cause odd noises. If connector joints that hold the ductwork in place are worn or damaged, the airflow will also make the duct rattle as it passes through due to the loose duct vibrating against the bracings.
Any sudden or gradual increases in noise coming from any portion of your HVAC system should be checked immediately. The sooner you get an inspection of your ductwork, the cheaper the repair costs can be. If ignored, the problem will only increase in severity.
Uneven Distribution of Air
If you have noticed that some of the rooms in your home are colder or warmer than others, your ductwork may have issues providing an even flow through the home. This is a common sign of damage to the ductwork in the home. If there are any tears in the duct or the support joints are improperly sealed, airflow will leak out before it makes it to the intended destination.
The result of a damaged air duct causing air to detour is rooms feeling less comfortable than others. This difference in temperature can be a sign that something is wrong with the ducts in your home and needs an inspection to see if you have healthy ductwork. If the problem is severe, you could need to replace your ducts entirely. Regular duct cleaning can help prevent this issue from arising.
Rise in Energy Bill Cost
When conditioned air starts leaking into the home where it’s not supposed to, the cost of energy consumption will increase. This is due to your furnace or air conditioner working overtime to keep up with the temperature needs of the home. As far as your unit is concerned, it’s pumping the right air out whether it reaches the destination or not. It relies on your ducts to do that portion of the job. This is why having healthy ductwork is so important. If you run the unit on a near-constant basis, this increase in energy consumption can become significantly more noticeable on your bill.
If there has been a noticeable spike in your energy bill, there could be a reason behind it in your HVAC unit’s duct system. In worst-case scenarios, it will just be the HVAC unit itself needing to be replaced. In best-case scenarios, you will just need a quick duct cleaning or maintenance to remedy the situation.
To learn more about saving energy with your HVAC system, check out this website.
Mildew Growth in Ductwork
Seeing mildew in ducts can be difficult. It often does not grow in areas where lighting can reach into the vents of your home. This makes it a bit more difficult to detect on your own as a homeowner. The biggest sign that you have mildew will be odd smells in your ductwork. Mildew has a distinct odor to it, and it can be easily spotted over other smells in your HVAC system as conditioned air exits the vents. To check for yourself, open your ducting or vent and shine a flashlight into the opening. If you see any signs of green or black residue, that is mildew and needs to be removed professionally.
A professional contractor will be able to handle mildew removal safely for you. They will have protective equipment to keep them safe while cleaning any mildew from the home. Most commonly, mildew issues will require a replacement of the ductwork to resolve the issue.
Constant Dust Issues
Over accumulation of dust in the home can be a major sign that something is wrong with your HVAC system. If you’ve noticed areas in the home collecting more dust than usual, regardless of how clean you keep things, you could be looking at a problem with your ductwork transferring dirt where it shouldn’t. This is typically caused by ducts that have cracks or holes in them that collect dust and debris. When the system turns on, this dust and debris will get stirred up and sent through your duct network into the home. Filters can help trap some of this dust, but can’t trap it all. A professional can help inspect and clean your system, as well as repair any damages that caused the problem to build up.
Vents Clogging with Debris
Vents carry a lot of things in the air as it travels. Small particles of dust and debris are among the most common of these. If you’ve noticed a dark-colored lint-looking build-up on your system’s filters, this could indicate you do not have healthy ductwork. These filters should be replaced every 30 to 60 days to prevent issues. If you do change your filters often and still notice this lint-like build-up, you should get your HVAC system inspected for problems.
For more information on why you should keep your HVAC system well maintained, visit this website to learn more.
Is it Time to Replace Your Ductwork?
If you have any suspicions about your HVAC system having problems, it’s best to call in a professional immediately. Letting any problem linger for too long increases its severity and the cost of repairs. Regular maintenance and cleaning can help prevent these issues from ever being a concern in your home. Preventing the need to replace an HVAC unit is as easy as getting it cleaned before an issue can damage it.
Blake Brumfield is the owner of AC TEX, LLC Air Conditioning and Heating. He is a graduate of Lindsey-Cooper Refrigeration School and has over 6 years of working experience out in the field. Blake holds a Universal EPA License, Certified Technician License, and a HVAC Contractor License. In addition to his love of the outdoors, Blake spends most of his free time continuing to study and learn about today’s modern HVAC systems.