From poor airflow to unusual noises, the air duct is a pivotal component in the HVAC system as it guides the air that passes from the vents to the heating or cooling section of the central air unit. Aside from delivering air, ducts also exhaust air as a part of ventilation. Ducts are usually made of plastics and fiberglass. Though these elements generally work for a long time, air ducts deteriorate and get damaged because of various reasons.
To ensure the optimum working performance of your HVAC unit, a regular tune-up is a must. If you are in need of an AC repair in Phoenix, reach out to professionals like American Home Water and Air.
When to replace your air ducts
Repairs are inevitable when owning an HVAC device. Over time, the core components of the system get worn because of various factors such as old age, damage, and the like. And if the repairs are recurring and already very costly, maybe it’s time to replace your air ducts. To help you make the right decision, below are the signs that you need to take into account before purchasing a new one.
1. Old age
Air ducts normally last between 10 to 15 years. However, the lifespan may be cut shorter if there are issues or damages in the ducts. More so, old age is generally associated with frequent repairs due to wear and tear. So, if your ducts are older than 15 years old, it may be best to replace them and avoid major issues like excessive energy bills and very poor performance.
2. Insufficient airflow and uneven temperature
Faulty air ducts could not provide enough airflow, causing uneven heating or cooling in your home. Several factors lead to these problems, including dirty ducts or leaky parts. You can use an indoor thermometer to verify the varying temperature. And if the differences are clearly off the scale, inspect your ducts immediately.
It’s highly recommended that you maintain the air ducts regularly to avoid them from getting clogged up or getting damaged. If air ducts still result in poor airflow despite regular tune-ups or repairs, this is a visible sign that ducts need replacement. Using faulty ducts is not practical as it can cause major damage to the entire HVAC system and even your health. It may bring a lot of discomfort to the people around.
3. Mold spores and unwanted odor
Mold spores are common HVAC issues, especially if the device is placed in dark areas or nearby water sources. These tiny spores thrive in wet areas and travel through the air. And if these enter the air ducts, this can possibly lead to discomfort because of unpleasant odors.
Aside from the troublesome smell, mold spores can trigger asthma, allergies, and other respiratory concerns. So, if you notice a foul odor coming out of the ducts, don’t think twice and have them cleaned immediately. Sometimes a general tune-up will do, but if the molds have taken over the entire duct system, replacing it could be the best option.
4. Frequent allergies
In relation to the above concern, dirty air ducts can also be a major source of allergies or coughs that are not related to flu or colds. Air ducts play a pivotal role in facilitating the airflow that goes through the HVAC system.
And if these are not maintained properly, there’s a high chance of allergens, dust fragments, pet dander, and other harmful particles circulating in the system and in your home. This can further lead to serious respiratory illnesses in the long run. Therefore, it’s a must that you inspect the ductwork for holes and leaks so that it will not affect the unit as well as the indoor air quality.
5. Unusual noises
Are you hearing unusual sounds like screeching, banging, buzzing, and hissing? Beware! These noises are often a sign that your HVAC system is in trouble. And the most common cause of these sounds is damaged and dirty ducts.
Knowing these problems beforehand through these noises is very helpful so you can avoid major issues in the future. To give you an overview, whistling coming from the HVAC are indicators that the plastic joints or fiberglass are impaired. Meanwhile, rattling or vibrations could mean that issues are related to the air ducts.
6. Major damages
While most problems in the air ducts can be repaired, some issues are best if the ducts are replaced. For instance, if the ducts are damaged, this results in a defaced appearance with possible leaks and holes. Furthermore, the wrecked ducts can restrict the airflow and maybe the reason for the HVAC system to work double-time, increasing its wear and tear.
7. Increased electricity bills
As a result of leaks or damaged ducts, the system works harder to deliver and remove air. Consequently, this causes higher energy bills because the system gets overworked. So, if the ducts have been constantly repaired but duct-related issues continue to occur, it may be more practical to replace your air ducts.
How to fix your air ducts
If you experience at least one of the aforementioned signs, then be sure to keep an eye on your air ducts. It’s important that you regularly inspect the air ducts to avoid damage to the entire system. In some cases, the issue can be fixed by repairing one or two faulty pipes. You can just seal the damaged ducts and thoroughly clean the pipes.
To seal the ducts, try placing a strip of aluminum foil or add mastic sealant over the leak. The latter is more effective in terms of bigger leaks. On the other hand, insulating the pipes are also suggested, especially if there are frequent changes in temperature in your home. Ducts that are poorly insulated can be a major cause of condensation, which facilitates the growth of mold.
However, if the issue is serious, it may need duct replacement in general. Contact your HVAC technician to get the best diagnosis. Troubleshooting the problem by yourself is not recommended because it may cause more damage to the system. So, ask for advice from the experts to help you make the best decision―whether to repair or replace the air ducts.