There are several important components in any home HVAC system, and one group that tends to get a bit less attention than it should in some cases is your ductwork. Made up of several different ducts that run throughout the home and transport air from your furnace or air conditioner into the space, ductwork is vital for everything from proper quantities of air to air quality – and must be properly maintained to ensure optimal results in these areas.
At Action Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electric, we’re here to help with numerous HVAC areas, from air conditioner tune-ups and replacements to assistance with any of the other important components that factor into your system’s operations. If your duct system is clogged, leaking or otherwise compromised, you may deal with a variety of issues, from low-efficiency performance to problems with your air quality, early wear-down of system components and more.
How can you tell, though, if your ducts are clogged or dealing with other problems, and what can be done about them? Here’s a primer.
First and foremost, there are a few cases where you may think you have issues in your ducts, but the actual problem is in a different location. The most common example here involves issues taking place with your HVAC filter – namely, that it hasn’t been changed or cleaned in too long a period of time.
This will cause the filter to build up dust, dirt, hair and other debris, to the point where it will become clogged and will not allow the proper amounts of air through. This will limit airflow and cause less air to come out of your vents – you may think this issue is tracing back to the ducts, but it’s actually not.
In addition, filter issues may actually lead to duct concerns as well. They will cause more dirt and dust to break free and make their way into the ducts themselves, at which point buildups may begin to occur over time. So for more than one reason, either cleaning or replacing your filters on a regular basis – at least as often as the manufacturer recommends – is vital.
In other cases, issues you think are coming from your ducts may actually be due to problems with your vents. The two are closely connected, of course – vents are the final location that ducts lead to, the feature through which air is actually pushed out into the home itself.
In some cases, homeowner use and care of vents is lacking. Firstly, vents must be open and unblocked at all times – if they aren’t, airflow concerns will arise that may impact your ducts and other parts of the system. In addition, it’s very important for vents to be cleaned and maintained regularly – they may see buildups of dust, debris and hair, particularly if you have pets in the home. If this buildup is allowed to grow too far, it could even block your airflow partially or completely. In some cases, you may have to remove a vent temporarily to get rid of some kind of blockage or item that’s sitting just behind the vent.
Now, if you’ve taken the time to inspect both your filter and your air vents in the areas where you’re seeing airflow or related problems, and these areas don’t present a solution, you could indeed be dealing with issues in your ducts. Our next couple sections will go over some of these common issues and how to remedy them, either on your own or with the help of our HVAC specialists.
The most common duct-related issue within an HVAC system is also the simplest: They need to be cleaned. If too much dust and debris are allowed to build up in ducts, especially in those that haven’t been used for a few days, weeks or months, the airflow your system can produce will be limited to a much lower ceiling than it should be. You’ll also have to worry about the quality of your air, which will be lower if all the air you breathe passes through various contaminant particles in the ducts before reaching you.
Duct cleaning should be performed regularly. If you’re unsure about this process or need assistance, contact our team for help.
In other cases, your ducts may be leaking from one or more locations, often due to a crack or some kind of dent that took place recently. This causes air to escape from this area, meaning your airflow will once again be restricted – many of the symptoms of duct leaks look similar to clogged ducts, actually.
If you’re unsure whether a leak or clog is taking place, our HVAC technicians will be happy to perform a basic inspection. And if a small leak is present, we can easily remedy it for a low cost; larger leaks or cracks may require some more involved work.
For homes that have multi-zone HVAC systems installed, dampers are items that are used to open and close certain airflow areas within this sort of system. However, dampers may operate improperly or malfunction, causing problems that are very similar in nature to duct leaks or duct clogs – airflow will be lower and air quality will be a risk.
While some of the areas we’ve gone over here, such as changing HVAC filters or cleaning visible vents, are easily do-able among most homeowners, some of the other tasks we’ve looked at are not. If you’re concerned about performing any of these services on your own, simply call our team of HVAC technicians for assistance.
For more on any of our duct or related airflow services, or to learn about any of our HVAC or plumbing solutions, speak to the staff at Action Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electric today.