Do You Have Dirty Ductwork?
Let’s talk ductwork. When is the last time you had your ducts checked and cleaned? Homeowners often underestimate how important the air ducts that travel throughout their home are. It is the old, “out of sight, out of mind” mentality we don’t think about how our ductwork can affect indoor air quality along with the performance of HVAC systems.
The EPA ranks indoor air pollution among the top four health risks. Dirty air ducts have been identified as a major source of indoor air pollution. In fact, an air duct system is a breeding ground for bacteria, animal dander, mold and dust mites. These impurities can cause allergic reactions, breathing difficulties, infections, and disease.
In most homes, the forced-air ducts are as old as the home. In an older home, this can be a severe problem because at some point old ductwork will deteriorate. Corrosion, age, poor initial installation, or even rodents damage ducts. Once it is damaged, there is a decline in indoor comfort as well as an increase in contamination of indoor air.
A common consequence of deteriorating ductwork is air leakage. Air that is supposed to heat or cool a home leaks out of broken or separated sections. This air often leaks out into crawl spaces, wall voids, and garages. You end up paying for this lost air.
How Do You Know If Your Ductwork Needs Repair?
Perform a visual inspection. If you notice separated, loose or hanging sections, deteriorating duct tape, or signs of rust, it may be a sign it is time for a duct replacement.
Are there hot and cold spots in various rooms of your home? If there are spots that are the wrong temperature – like a room that is cold in the winter even if you have your heater running, then you probably have broken ducts preventing proper airflow to that room.
Are you heating and cooling bills higher than usual? Is there a reasonable explanation? If not, deteriorating ductwork could be the cause.
Listen for odd sounds. As the air flows through your ductwork, the ducts expand and contract as the temperature fluctuates. Popping noises when the heater or AC first cycle on is normal. If there is a loud rattling or shaking sound happening continuously, that is a sign your ducts may be loose or damaged.
If your home is 20 years or older, and has never had the ducts replaced, consider having them inspected by a professional.
What are the next steps?
A certified HVAC technician can perform tests on your ductwork to detect if there is a need for replacement. They may determine that the ducts are structurally sound, but just need a cleaning or sealing.
To schedule an estimate on ductwork replacement or to inquire about ductwork cleaning, please contact us at Burkholder’s HVAC.