Air ducts are typically the last thing a homeowner thinks about when it comes to caring for his or her HVAC system. Air ducts are an essential part of your home’s ventilation; without them, your HVAC unit wouldn’t be capable of carrying air from room to room throughout your home.
Although often forgotten about (due to their typically hidden placement), your air ducts also need attention, maintenance, repairs and even replacement from time to time. But how do you know when it’s time to repair or replace them? After all, you hardly ever even see that part of your home comfort system. Here are common signs to look for that may indicate the need for an air duct replacement or repairs.
Much like an HVAC system, air ducts can last upwards of 15–20 years with proper care. It is, however, crucial to note that over time, air duct seals, joints and seams are susceptible to deterioration. Deterioration/damage can cause many problems for your comfort system, such as the costly overuse of energy, poor performance and overall discomfort within your home, to name a few. Like all HVAC equipment, air ducts experience wear and tear, which is why it is important to have your
ductwork checked periodically and likely replaced/repaired every 15 years or so. It’s also worth noting that newer duct systems incorporate improved materials and designs that enhance
efficiency and durability.
Airflow is an essential part of an optimally functioning HVAC system, and your ductwork plays a significant role in the process of efficiently heating and cooling your living spaces. When your ductwork is damaged, old, unclean or clogged in any way, your home is likely to suffer the consequences: high energy bills and discomfort. If you notice your HVAC system’s airflow depleting or straining, it may be time for repairs or a replacement.
Poor indoor air quality
Indoor air quality (IAQ) has a direct impact on your health and comfort. If you notice an increase in dust, allergens or unpleasant odors in your home despite regular cleaning, your air ducts could be a contributing factor. Old, worn-out ducts can harbor dust, mold and other contaminants that are then circulated throughout your living spaces. Replacing your ducts can help alleviate these IAQ issues and promote a healthier indoor environment.
Inconsistent temperatures and system performance
Do you find that certain rooms in your home are consistently too hot or too cold, regardless of how you adjust the thermostat? Uneven temperature distribution can be a sign of duct problems. Over time, ducts can develop leaks, gaps or even become disconnected, leading to inconsistent airflow and temperature imbalances. Have a licensed HVAC technician inspect and test your ductwork. Upgrading your duct system can help ensure that conditioned air reaches every corner of your home, providing consistent comfort.
Increased energy bills
If your energy bills have been steadily climbing despite your efforts to conserve energy, your air ducts might be to blame. Leaky ducts can allow conditioned air to escape before it reaches its intended destination, causing your HVAC system to work harder and consume more energy. Replacing old, leaky ducts with new, well sealed ones can lead to significant energy savings.
Pests, rodents and insects can find their way into your home through damaged or poorly sealed ducts. If you’ve been dealing with frequent pest infestations, it could be a sign that your ducts need attention. New air ducts with proper seals and insulation can help prevent unwanted visitors from entering your home through the HVAC system.
Last but not least, improper ductwork design and installation
Ductwork systems are strategically designed and installed throughout your home to condition every space optimally, all while maintaining efficiency, energy usage and performance. If your ductwork was designed or installed improperly for one reason or another, replacement or repairs are necessary. Improper design/installation is one of the leading causes of residential energy loss nationwide. Even with a brand-new AC unit that perfectly fits your home, poor ductwork makes optimal efficiency and comfort nearly impossible. If you are experiencing hot and cold spots around your home or less than satisfactory levels of comfort, hire a professional to check out your ductwork.
And then, if you want to invite ducks into your home, you can be assured your air ducts will be working properly!