If your home is heated and cooled by a forced-air system, then your ductwork plays a huge role in home comfort and energy performance. Although many factors can contribute to high bills and inadequate comfort control, ducts can be hard to pinpoint as the source of trouble. Your ducts can account for as much as 40 percent of the heating and cooling energy used in your home, making their periodic inspection and maintenance a high priority.
Common Ductwork Problems and Causes
There are numerous issues that can lead to household comfort complaints, and many of them trace to duct damage or maintenance. Some of the most common problems and causes include:
- Leaks and cracks – a compromise in a duct wall can be caused because of the material from which the unit is fabricated. Flex is one of the most vulnerable materials because of its softer structure. Plastic materials can become brittle over time while metal ducts can rust. In each case, a minor leak or crack can lead to energy loss, and multiple leaks can amplify the problem.
- Bad connections – pieces that don’t fit together well can become disjointed or leaky, allowing heating and cooling energy to be lost to crawl spaces. Improper or brittle sealing materials can also cause leaks at connections, requiring updated duct sealing service.
- Holes – severe deterioration could lead to large holes in your ductwork. Extreme rusting of metal ducts is one possibility. Rodents can also chew into softer duct systems.
- Crushed sections – physical damage can leave portions of your ducts blocked.
- Dead ends – unattached sections of ducts can lead to a significant loss of energy, especially if the sections aren’t closed off. If they are closed off, these sections are still siphon heating and cooling energy away from the remainder of the home. Additionally, rooms that should have been connected to these sections may lack proper comfort control.
- Dirt – your ducts can harbor dust, dander and droppings from insects and rodents, making it important to remember periodic cleaning services. The infiltration of these materials into your airstream could trigger allergies or other health issues.
Signs that a Duct Inspection Is Needed
Because you can’t see your ducts, it is important to have them inspected from time to time. During your seasonal HVAC maintenance, a technician can evaluate the condition of your ducts and recommend cleaning or repair services. You may want to schedule an inspection if you notice:
- Unusually high energy bills that don’t resolve with regular HVAC maintenance
- Poor airflow from some or all of your vents
- Air movement through vents when your HVAC equipment isn’t operating
- Unusual sounds in ducts or at registers that may indicate rodent activity
- Signs of deterioration on visible ducts in an attic, basement or crawl space
The team at Gentry Heating, Inc., is ready to assist with any HVAC concerns that you may have. One of our experts can inspect and service the ducts in your Columbus, NC home at your convenience. Give us a call to schedule an appointment.