Air ducts and their maintenance are not something most people think about throughout the day. In fact, they are probably one of the last things on your household “to-do” list. We wouldn’t be doing our job if we didn’t inform you just how important it is to stay on top of all HVAC-related maintenance and repairs, including ductwork.
If your ducts are dirty or leaking, your system could potentially be circulating contaminated, unfiltered air throughout your home or business. But how does one know when the right time to check in on those ducts is? Or how to tell if something is wrong in the first place? We’ve put together a list of signs to look for to note whether your ducts need repair or not.
Sign #1: Your A/C doesn’t seem to be cooling the air
One of the more obvious red flags about the potential need for duct repair is the simple check of the air getting cooler or not after turning the A/C on. Although this could potentially be linked to several other issues, poor cooling performance is often a sign that your ducts need to be checked.
If you feel that you are having this issue, check your air filters first. The poor airflow could be a direct result of a dirty filter, which is a pretty simple and inexpensive fix. If this is not the case and the cooling performance is still incredibly low, it would be best to contact a technician to take a better look at your system. Make sure you are not overworking the system by trying to compensate by setting the temperature extremely low. This will strain your A/C and could cause even more problems down the line.
Sign #2: The age of your home
It’s important to know how old your home is and when the last time any ductwork or work on the air conditioning system was done. With suitable care and attention, many air ducts can last around 10 years before a replacement is necessary. Like anything else, with time the ducts will wear and tear and begin to slowly deteriorate. The deterioration is what will cause the problems you will most likely see. If you know the age of your air ducts or the time of the most recent replacement, it’s crucial to keep up with the maintenance every 10 years or so.
Sign #3: Strange scents coming through the vents
One noteworthy sign of a problem with your ducts is the presence of new and unexplained smells throughout the home.
If you are experiencing a strange odor wafting through your home, your ducts may be leaking and allowing dust and dirt to make their way inside. There is also a chance that the smell may be due to the presence of mold growing somewhere within you ducts. This is something that needs to be checked on ASAP, otherwise the mold will continue to spread through the ducts and into other areas of your home. Constant inhalation of mold can cause serious health problems and illness. Depending on how bad the mold growth is, you may want to replace your ducts completely. If you have a feeling this is an issue you are experiencing, contact an A/C professional as soon as possible.
Sign #4: Physical damage to the ducts
If you can physically see damage to the ducts, such as dents, holes, or punctures, your ducts probably need replacement. If there are holes, the air will not flow correctly, resulting in an improper airflow throughout the home which could lead to several different problems. Leaking ducts can cause your air conditioner to work harder by allowing cooled air to escape before it reaches its destination. Since ducts are often located in out of reach areas like attics, floors, and walls, it’s best to have a professional inspect your ducts for visible signs of physical damage. Depending on the extent of the damage, they will determine whether your ducts can be fixed or will need a full replacement.
Sign #5: Strange noises coming through the system
Every air conditioner has its own quirks and noises. It’s natural to hear certain sounds arise when the system is turned on. However, if your system continuously makes strange noises throughout the cooling cycle, this could be a sign of your ducts needing replacement. If the ducts are damaged or clogged, loud noises like bangs or pops can occur.
Sign #6: Uneven temperatures throughout the home
If you’re noticing hot and cold spots throughout your house, this could mean that your ducts aren’t placed in the most strategic spots. If the ducts are clogged, this will stop the airflow to certain rooms, therefore creating a warmer room when you are trying to cool your home. If you feel that your home has rooms where the temperature is uneven, contact a professional today and they can better inform you of what you need in regard to your air ducts.
Sign #7: Improper Installation
When initially installed, air ducts are placed strategically throughout the home to optimize airflow and decrease energy usage. This will in turn preserve your air conditioning system as a whole. If for some reason you feel that your air ducts were not correctly installed, it’s important to contact a professional as soon as you can. In the case of improper installation, re-installing new ductwork is the best solution. With new, properly installed duct work, your energy costs will likely decrease and the lifespan of your air conditioner will increase.
Sign #8: Higher than normal energy bills
If you are noticing that your energy bills are skyrocketing for no apparent reason, this could be a sign of problems with your ducts. Whether it’s a small blockage, a leak, or a bigger issue, these issues can cause your system to overwork, which in turn requires more energy. A technician can inspect your ducts and help you find the best solution to bring your bills back to reasonable levels.
Contact Larson for air duct expertise
Learn more about Larson’s ductwork services and how our technicians can help. If you feel that your ducts require maintenance, repair, or replacement, please do not hesitate to contact us at (480) 428-0600. We will make sure your ducts get the help they need!