An HVAC unit is responsible for heating and cooling your home via the ductwork that carries hot or cold air throughout the house. Making sure your ductwork is in good condition is necessary to keep your heating and cooling costs down.
But, when your ductwork is hidden in the ceiling, how do you know if there is something wrong? The key to finding a problem is to simply look, listen, smell and feel throughout your home. Simple changes in your home often are enough to give you a hint that your ductwork needs service from an HVAC technician.
Cleaning Becomes an Everyday Chore
Have you noticed that your tables and shelves are constantly covered with a layer of dust even after just dusting the day before? Are you experiencing an increase in allergy or asthma symptoms? If this is the case, chances are your ductwork may have small holes or gaps that are allowing air to come in. Another explanation is poorly sealed connections. This increased amount of dust and allergens coming into your home reduces air quality and allows for air to escape before entering the rooms it is designed to heat or cool.
Something Smells Bad
If you walk into your house and notice an odd smell, chances are you will check the kitchen first, looking for spoiled food. However, taking a sniff around your vents may reveal the true culprit. When air travels through the ducts, it can often create condensation. This condensation typically occurs in poorly insulated ductwork. If you notice a musty or mildew-like smell, chances are you may have mold inside your ductwork that can cause medical concerns.
It’s Very Loud
A properly installed HVAC system should run efficiently and with little to no noise. If you begin hearing a noise when your system runs, it is possible that the ductwork is either too small for your system or is not properly balanced. This is often a problem when a new HVAC system is installed and connected to old ductwork. Noise can also be a sign that the ductwork has come loose and is not secured properly. If this is the case, the HVAC system must work harder to push air through and can greatly increase your electric bill.
The Bathroom Is Freezing
Inconsistent air temperatures throughout the house, such as a cold bathroom when the rest of the home is warm, can be an indication of a blocked or leaky section of ductwork. This section of ductwork is no longer allowing air to travel correctly into a room, thus creating the difference in temperature.
All these simple signs point to issues with your ductwork that, if left unchecked, can lead to poor air quality and possible health concerns. In older homes, it is especially important to have the ductwork checked for possible incorrect configurations or damage directly to the ductwork from years of service. An HVAC system and ductwork should be maintained and checked regularly to ensure they run smoothly and keep your heating and cooling costs down.