Your ducts are a central part of both your air conditioner and your furnace, and they work throughout the year to distribute climate-controlled air throughout your home to maintain your overall comfort level. However, gaps, damage, and other issues can affect your ductwork just like every other part of your HVAC system, which can have an effect on your entire household. Being aware of the most common signs of ductwork problems can help you figure out when you should talk to an HVAC specialist about repairing or replacing your ducts.
Increased Noise of Operation
One of the most common warning signs that your ductwork is suffering from damage or mechanical issues is if you can hear loud banging or regular pinging sounds while your HVAC system is turned on. This happens when a panel of your ductwork is bent or broken, allowing air to escape from your ducts. As it passes through, this loose panel or piece can flex and move, grinding against other parts of your ductwork and creating loud and distracting sounds. Not only can this annoy you throughout the day and night, but it can also reduce the energy efficiency of your system and greatly increase your utility bills.
Another sign that your ductwork should be replaced is if you notice a strong, earthy odor coming out of your vents. This happens when condensation builds up in your ductwork over time, creating a damp, dark and warm environment for mold and mildew to grow. This is a health concern for you and your family, and while you can have your ducts cleaned to remove the problem in the short term, the only way to prevent condensation from occurring is by having new ductwork installed with increased insulation.
Reduced Air Quality
An additional thing to watch out for if you think that your ducts may be in need of replacement is if your home's overall air quality has decreased. You'll notice more allergens and dust in the air, which can aggravate any respiratory conditions that you have and increase how often you have to clean your home. This is usually caused by an opening somewhere in your ducts that allows dust and outside particles to enter the ductwork. While replacing your HVAC system's air filter and having your ducts cleaned may alleviate short-term issues, you'll want a professional inspection by a residential air conditioning repair service to determine if there are any sections of your ducts that need to be replaced entirely.