12 Signs You May Need an Air Duct Replacement

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Did you know that 50 million Americans have allergies? From dust to pet dander, allergies are rising all the time. 

Your air conditioning could be making the problem worse. If it’s not kept in great shape, allergens just keep circulating around your home.

The air ducts are like the veins and arteries of your HVAC system. If they’re well maintained, refreshing, clean air will flow freely. But clogged and broken ducts can cause serious issues.

How can you spot these problems? Join us as we explore 12 tell-tale signs that you need an air duct replacement.

1. Energy Bills Rising

The US is facing some of the highest energy prices in recent memory. Anything that you can do to make your home more energy-efficient can help to keep your costs under control.

But did notice that your energy bills were rising before the recent price hikes? Or are your bills not just rising, but skyrocketing? 

If so, your air ducts could be the culprit. If air is leaking out of your ducts and not making its way to the rooms in your house, it’s literally leaking money. 

If you call in an air duct replacement company, they can thoroughly inspect your entire system. They’ll track down any leaks that are causing the system to work inefficiently and advise whether you need a repair or a replacement.

2. Past Its Expiration Date

You can expect your air ducts to last about 10-15 years before you need to replace them. They’re made of plastic and fiberglass and after years of use, they become worn out and prone to damage.

If you’re thinking about buying a home, ask them when they last replaced the air ducts. You may need to factor an air duct replacement into your negotiations.

If your HVAC system is not that old, air duct repair may be an option. However, the sooner you address the problem, the better. Broken sections put more pressure on the entire system, which could cause parts to fail sooner than they should.

3. Increase in Allergies

A dodgy AC system can exacerbate allergies. Dust mites can breed in your air conditioner, and mold and mildew love the warm, moist atmosphere of your air ducts!

If they are not properly cleaned and maintained, they can spread allergens throughout the house. So if you notice a sharp uptick in family members will allergy issues, take a look at your air ducts. Some simple repairs or a clean may be all that they need.

It can be hard to figure out whether your system needs a clean, or some serious maintenance. Check out this blog for more info – https://www.coolhuntsville.com/air-duct-replacement-maintenance-vs-cleaning-what-you-need-to-know/

4. Noise!

Do your ducts make freaky, otherworldly sounds? They can be super creepy for you and your family, and they’re probably telling you there are some serious issues going on. 

Potential causes include:

  • A buildup of air pressure
  • Dirty air filter
  • Incorrect configuration

If you notice the sounds are worse on start-up, it could be an air pressure issue. This can cause the ductwork to expand and contract, making noise. 

A dirty air filter puts more pressure on the entire HVAC system. Everything’s working harder, and the decibel levels increase! If the air ducts have not been installed with the right configuration, air can’t easily flow around the home.

You don’t have to live with noisy air ducts. Get an experienced HVAC technician to have a look at your system and pinpoint the issue.

5. Bad Smells

A poorly maintained HVAC system can become a breeding ground for all kinds of hazardous substances. When it’s running correctly, your AC removes moisture from the air and it drains away outside. If the air ducts and filters have become clogged, the moisture will not drain away as it should.

Mold, mildew, and fungus can thrive in dusty, damp conditions. If you notice a fusty, musty smell coming from your air vents, you’ve probably got a mold issue in your air ducts. 

If you ever notice a smoky smell coming through, shut off your AC immediately and call in a heating and cooling company. Do not attempt a DIY solution. There are lots of electrical components in an HVAC system, and you need a professional to find the problem.

6. Holes and Damage

To keep your heating and cooling system in optimum condition, leaks must be kept to a minimum. 

Over time, air ducts can develop holes or get damaged. These breaks and holes leak air, which puts extra strain on the system. Your indoor air quality will drop.

If the damage is limited, your HVAC technician may advise that you can get away with a repair. If the damage is extensive, maybe in several parts of the system. An air duct replacement may be the most cost-effective option in the long run.

7. Underperforming HVAC

Have you noticed that however high or low you crank it, your HVAC system just isn’t up to the job?

There could be several reasons for this, including air duct issues. If you have serious gaps in the system, air will be leaking out and not going where you want it to. The air that does reach your vents will suffer from weaker flow, and will not be at the temperature you want. 

However, your damper flaps could also be the cause. They can get stuck in the wrong position, so instead of adjusting when you change the temperature, they stay in the same place. This means that you won’t achieve the temperature you want.

8. Unwanted Infestations

We all love to live somewhere cool in summer, and warm in winter. Sadly, the same applies to bugs and rodents. Give them half a chance and they’ll turn your AC ducts into their boarding houses.

They find their way in through small holes or gaps in joints. Rats can pretty much get in anywhere. An air duct would be easy work for them to gnaw through.

If you notice a smell of ammonia coming through, you could be dealing with a rodent infestation. If your cat starts paying a lot of attention to your vents, that could be another sign that rodents have taken up residence.

Another tell-tale sign is hearing pests scuttling through your ductwork. Heating and cooling companies have seen it all before. Get them in, and they’ll advise you whether you need an air duct replacement, pest control, or both!

9. Wrong Design For Your Home

A well-designed HVAC system will run efficiently and keep your bills down. Here are some warning signs that your system does not have the right design: 

  • Long runs of ductwork
  • Sharp bends in ductwork
  • Incorrect size of ductwork
  • Return vents in the wrong place

It can be difficult for homeowners to identify these issues. Call in the pros, and ask them if your system needs to be reconfigured.

10. Patchy Performance

Is your AC great in the living room, but terrible in the bedrooms? This could be a sign that something is wrong with the ductwork in between.

Any patchy performance from your HVAC system is suggestive of a leak. The airflow can’t get through, and therefore you get hot and cold zones. This could be a simple fix, so call in an air duct replacement service to track down the dodgy duct.

11. Dirty Air Vents

Dusty vents and having to dust your home more often are signs that your AC system is not firing on all cylinders. It may just need some regular cleaning or maintenance, but either way, you need to get it checked out.

12. Dodgy Seals

The goal of any engineer fitting an HVAC system is to keep air leaks to an absolute minimum. Air ducts are only as strong as their joints. Most ducts get covered in a layer of insulation during installation which can make breaks in joints hard to spot.

Over time, normal wear and tear can lead to joints moving apart and leaking air. You can test for this by putting your AC on full blast and then running your hand over the joints. Can you feel cold air escaping?

If so, remember that a patch job is not really the answer. If the original joint broke, the patch job will also, only much more quickly.

Oh, and look out for duct tape. That’s a sure sign a previous owner has done a patch job on the system that’s probably now failing. It’s best to call in an air duct replacement service to give your whole system the once-over. 

Is It Time for an Air Duct Replacement?

Air ducts are often out of sight and out of mind. But if your health and energy bills are suffering, an air duct replacement could be just what the doctor ordered.

If you notice any of these signs then call in an air duct replacement company right away. Let them diagnose and fix your issue before it gets worse.

Have you enjoyed this article? We’re so pleased!

Would you like to read more blogs that help you keep your home in top condition? Head over to our Home Improvement section for more great hints and tips today!

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