Because the air ducts in your home do their work behind the scenes, it’s easy to occasionally forget that they exist. However, they do have the very important job of transferring air from your heating and cooling systems around your home, so neglecting them isn’t wise. Even if you have no reason to think your ductwork is unhealthy, being proactive by scheduling a professional inspection once a year or so is a good way to save yourself some money and hassle. It’s also beneficial to be aware of the most common indicators that damage has occurred somewhere in your home’s ductwork. The earlier you become aware of a ductwork problem, the less time it will have to harm your finances and comfort level.
1. Odd Noises
If you hear loud, unusual noises when you start up your heater or air conditioner, it could be a symptom of a ductwork issue. If the noise you’re hearing sounds like a banging or booming, that usually means that excess air pressure is causing the metal in the ducts to expand. This isn’t necessarily a major problem, but it should probably be checked by a professional if it’s happening persistently.
Alternatively, you might be hearing a rattling, vibrating, or whistling sound. This type of noise could mean that the joints connecting your air ducts are damaged. These joints are typically made from fiberglass or plastic, and it’s common for them to become damaged or cracked after a while. If you think that the joints in your ductwork may not be in good shape, it would be smart to have them inspected before it leads to more serious household problems.
2. A Dusty Home
Even if you’re consistent about keeping a clean house, it’s inevitable that there’s going to be some dust present. However, if the dust becomes pervasive, it could be damaged or dirty ductwork that’s causing it. When your air ducts have leaks or other openings, it allows particles of dust, dirt, and debris to make their way inside of them. Then, when your heating or cooling system circulates air, all of those contaminants end up in your air vents, in the air you’re breathing, and around your home. If you find yourself suddenly sneezing a lot or are noticing lots of dust on your home’s surfaces, it may be a ductwork issue.
3. Inconsistent or Uneven Heating and Cooling
When your heating and cooling systems and your ductwork are working properly, the hot or cold air is distributed evenly to the different areas of your household. However, if there’s a certain section of the ductwork that’s been damaged, it can result in much of the air that’s destined for a certain part of the home to leak out instead. Not only does this cause your climate control to become inconsistent, but it also forces your heating and cooling systems to work harder just to compensate for the loss. If you’re noticing that one room isn’t warming up as fast as the rest of the house or any similar issue, it may be time to have an HVAC professional take a look at your ducts.
4. Moldy Smell
When mold is allowed to flourish in your home, it can result in respiratory problems, damage to your furniture, and a very unpleasant smell. Mold and mildew can only grow where moisture is present, and certain ductwork problems can create the exact type of environment they prefer. When your ductwork is damaged, it’s more likely for moisture and cold air from outside to end up inside of it. This moisture accumulating will promote mold growth, and then particles of that mold will be picked up and circulated into the air you’re breathing.
Moisture can also occur in your ducts through condensation. If your ducts have leaks or are poorly insulated, it can cause them to become much colder than what’s intended. If you turn on your heating system, the hot air is going to come in contact with those cold ducts, and that’s when condensation forms. This condensation creates a perfect opportunity for mold or mildew to show up. If you’re noticing that distinct musty smell in your home, have the house inspected for mold.
5. Increase in Monthly Bills
When your heating and cooling systems are circulating air through your home, it’s inevitable that a small amount of that hot or cold air is going to escape during the process. However, if your ductwork has significant leaks or damage, it’s going to result in a far higher percentage of that air being lost. When excessive air escapes your ducts, your heating and cooling systems need to compensate for it to keep you comfortable. This puts a lot of unhealthy strain on your appliances, and it also directly impacts your monthly energy bills. Your ducts being clogged can cause your monthly bills to rise as well because it reduces the amount of space that your furnace and air conditioner have to push air through the ducts. This forces them to increase their air pressure just to do their jobs.
If your monthly heating or cooling costs seem to be rising and you aren’t sure why it’s a real possibility that your ducts aren’t functioning as well as they should be.
6. Pest Problem
When leaks and holes materialize in your ducts, it isn’t just dust, cold air, and moisture that’s able to infiltrate the pathways. Additionally, pests such as insects and small rodents can also find their way inside of your damaged ductwork. If these critters get inside of your air ducts and are left unchecked, they might start to build colonies without you even realizing it. Granted, you might start to notice unpleasant smells or odd noises at random times, but your safest bet is to have the ductwork inspected regularly. If you have the expertise, you can check for pests or their droppings on your own, but going with a trained professional will be the best bet in most scenarios. If you do uncover an infestation of some kind, your first step will be having a pest control expert rid your home of the problem. Once they’re gone, you can have the ducts repaired and get your HVAC systems back in tiptop condition.
At Bardi Heating, Cooling, & Plumbing, we offer a wide variety of quality household services to the greater Norcross, GA, area. In addition to our heating, cooling, and plumbing services, we can also handle jobs concerning air purification, duct cleaning, and insulation. Our family-owned company was founded in 1989, and we believe that our culture and the quality of our people are what sets us apart. We back every job we do with a solid satisfaction guarantee, and you can count on our team exceeding your expectations. Let us help keep you comfortable all year long. Call us up at Bardi Heating, Cooling, & Plumbing to get your first appointment scheduled.