8 Signs It’s Time to Replace Your Air Ducts - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

8 Signs It’s Time to Replace Your Air Ducts

Air ducts are essential components of the ventilation system of a home. However, homeowners often neglect them when it comes to caring for their HVAC systems. HVAC units need functional air ducts to carry air from room to room. Although air ducts often get forgotten, they need repairs, maintenance, and attention from time to time.

Air ducts are mostly out of sight, so most homeowners are not sure when to replace them. Here are the common signs it is time to replace old air ducts.

Poor Airflow

Air ducts play a critical role in ensuring that the HVAC system cools the living space efficiently. Clogged, filthy, and damaged ductworks can have dire consequences on a cooling system, cause discomfort, and raise energy bills. Strained or depleted airflow could be a sign that it is time to replace your air ducts.

Age

Air ducts can last as long as an AC unit. With proper care, an air duct can last up to a decade. However, it is worth noting that seams, joints, and duct seals become susceptible to deterioration as the HVAC unit ages.

Air ducts experience wear and tear just like any other component in an HVAC unit. As such, it is wise to have air ducts inspected and possibly replaced every decade.

Odors and Mold Growth

Mold growth can wreak havoc on a cooling system, especially if it gets into the air ducts. Mold spores and odors are likely to spread throughout the home when the cooling system kicks on, exposing the occupants to the risk of severe health complications and allergies.

Never hesitate to contact a professional if you fear your HVAC unit may have mold growth. A foul smell could be a sign of mold infestation. In addition to posing a health risk, mold can interfere with the performance of a cooling system. Cleaning air ducts may help prevent this, but replacing air ducts will always be the best solution to your mold problem.

A Rise in Energy Bills

This cause for concern may be a bit difficult to pinpoint. Energy bills tend to vary over time and are often highest when temperatures are at their extremes. Many things other than your HVAC system can cause your home to draw extra energy. In this modern world, most of our outlets are crammed full of electronic devices.

A deficiency in the performance of the heating and cooling system for your home can also be gradual. When the system fails on a more gradual scale, rather than all at once, it will be harder to notice.

If you feel like your energy bills are higher than they ought to be, review your energy usage. For those who do not save old bills, you should be able to find all the information you need about the matter online by creating a customer profile with your energy company.

You can compare your energy usage over the past year compared to the previous one. If the numbers are consistently higher, and do not correspond with any new electronics that could be pulling a lot of energy, you likely have a problem with your HVAC system.

It is normal for some air to escape while traveling through your air ducts. However, if it is enough that you can see the air loss reflected in your energy bill, it is time for action. Get an HVAC specialist out to have a look at your system. They will repair what they can, but the problem may call for your ducts to be replaced entirely.

Improper Installation

Air ducts are installed throughout a home for optimal cooling. However, improper installation can hinder the performance, energy usage, and efficiency of an HVAC unit. Replacement might be necessary if any of your air ducts were installed or misdesigned. Improper HVAC installations are the leading causes of energy inefficiencies in homesteads.

Even a new AC unit can cause discomfort and energy loss if it does not fit your home. Consider hiring a professional for air duct installation services if you experience discomfort or cold and hot spots around your home.

Noisy Performance

An HVAC system makes noise during operation. It is unavoidable. Your system moves around the air and requires fans to do so. However, the noise should not be overpowering. Most people should be able to tune it out after being exposed to it for a short time. Sometimes, though, the noise coming from your system is overpowering and can not be ignored.

If you hear rattling or whistling noises coming from your air ducts or if they are vibrating, it is time for an inspection. These noises may be signs of damaged duct joints or holes in the ducts. You need to check your ducts when these noises occur, as they will only get worse with time. Repairing the damage may be possible, but the ducts might be beyond help and simply need replacing.

Punctures and Dents

Air ducts are designed to ensure a home gets the most out of an air cooling unit. However, minor damages, including punctures and dents, can diminish the effectiveness of an AC unit. Any visible damage to an air duct may mean it is time to call an AC professional for damage assessment. A trained professional can help determine if it is necessary to replace or repair your air ducts.

Poor Performance

It may be necessary to have the ducts of a troubled cooling system inspected. Cooling systems can come under strain from many different sources, making it difficult to cool your home. Homeowners can always try cleaning or replacing their filters because a clogged filter could also be the reason for poor performance.

If none of these measures work, contact a licensed HVAC technician to inspect the ductwork. Noisy ducts could be a sign of an obstruction that could be straining the cooling system. Never ignore any of these signs because a seemingly minor problem can escalate into an issue that might cost you a fortune.


About the author

Hiram M. Hamilton graduated university with a BA in Journalism but became a trusted employee at his father’s HVAC company. With 20 years of experience under his belt, Hiram is a specialist in the industry and a self-thought plumber. However, his passion for journalism prompted him to pick up the pen again. Now, he is writing informative articles related to HVAC issues, home services, and plumbing tips and tricks to educate the public and help people become more self-reliant. Contact the author.
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