Dirty, damaged, and aging ductwork can cost you a veritable fortune in energy loss. In some instances, it can also make your Margate, Florida, home downright uninhabitable. Knowing how to distinguish between ductwork that needs to be cleaned and ductwork that’s ready to be replaced is important. Whenever HVAC duct issues exist, scheduling timely repairs or replacements can save you cash, boost your indoor air quality (IAQ), improve resident health, and lower your carbon footprint.
Sharp Increases in Your Home Energy Bills
A sudden and dramatic increase in your home energy bills is a likely sign of duct problems. These surges in energy costs could mean that you’ve got leaky ducts or that your HVAC ductwork has finally reached the end of its lifespan. With proper maintenance and properly sized heating and cooling equipment, these systems can last between 10 and 15 years.
One way to know whether your ducts are leaking is to check the temperature of your walls while the heat is on. If your walls feel hot, but your rooms feel cold, this means that leaky ducts are depositing heated air behind the drywall. Excessively hot attic areas, hot and cold spots throughout the home and excess dust floating throughout the living environment are also indicators of leaky ducts. When you schedule a duct inspection, a professional HVAC technician can determine the exact location of the problem and its level of severity. Some leaks can be sealed or patched. Others require partial or full duct replacement.
HVAC ductwork is one home feature that many people neglect or ignore. After all, as long as heating and cooling systems turn on and continue to distribute a sufficient amount of conditioned air, problems with ducts don’t always invite a lot of urgency. However, once aging ductwork has reached its 10-year mark, there’s always the danger of having it collapse. This is a common issue among ducts that are nearing their 15-year mark, whether they’re made from soft, pliable materials, plastic, or heavier metals.
Collapsed ducts aren’t just the result of advanced aging. Exposed ductwork often exists in fairly inconspicuous areas throughout the home that are also used for storing things like ladders, paint cans, and other potentially heavy items. If you’ve got higher than average utility bills, a lower indoor air quality, and noticeably lower heating or cooling system performance, check out the ducts in your garage, attic, or basement areas. Heavy impacts may have left small sections of the HVAC ducting in these spaces collapsed and with greatly restricted airflow. Unlike leaky ducts, collapsed ducts always require replacement.
The Smell of Death
Some issues with HVAC ducts are incredibly unpleasant to deal with. When there are accessible points of ingress for small animals, they can wander inside of these systems and then have a hard time finding their way out. When an animal dies in HVAC ductwork, the smell of its decomposing body will permeate the entire home. Unless this issue is dealt with by professionals in a timely and thorough manner, everyone can become ill. Bacteria and other pathogens will be continuously circulated throughout the living environment. Moreover, as decomposition advances, bits of fur and other decomposition-related debris will be moved through the HVAC system as well.
When decomposing animals are near an accessible point of entry, you may be able to remove them yourself. However, simply clearing the worst of this mess out is by no means a final solution. HVAC professionals take a far more comprehensive approach to these removals. All areas in which a dying animal may have wandered are treated. Everything is fully sanitized and deodorized, and all possible points of ingress are properly sealed to prevent future issues. When the damages caused by a wandering or decomposing animal are severe, duct replacement may be recommended.
Improperly Sized Heating or Cooling Equipment
Choosing and installing your own heating and cooling equipment can result in a number of problems, especially if you aren’t capable of choosing the right equipment sizes. These are issues that you can also deal with when hiring a handyman or any other person who isn’t properly trained for this job. Installing a heater or air conditioner that’s too small for the building will cause this equipment to run all of the time. Conversely, if you pick units that are too large, they’ll constantly cycle off and on. Not only does this cause excess wear to heaters and air conditioners themselves, but it can additionally expedite the aging process of HVAC ductwork. If you’ve been running an improperly sized heater or air conditioner in your home for quite some time, you should have your ducts inspected when swapping this equipment out. Taking care of both at once will allow for the greatest level of efficiency once your new heater or air conditioner is installed.
An Unsafe Indoor Air Quality
Decreases in your IAQ, even if they’re quite significant, can often be resolved by having your ductwork cleaned and by addressing the increase in airborne contaminants at its source. However, if your home had a major flood event and cleanup was not started within 24 to 48 hours, problems with mold could render your HVAC ductwork unsafe. Once significant amounts of mold spores find their way into these systems, cleaning them out isn’t always a possibility. Moreover, mold spore infestations in HVAC ductwork can result in recurring mold issues and serious, ongoing health problems for all building residents.
At Dr. HVAC Inc, we provide reliable cooling and heating services, such as cooling installation, heating repair, and HVAC maintenance to residents of the greater Margate, Florida, area. We also offer comprehensive duct cleaning services and full duct replacements. If you’re concerned about the age or condition of your HVAC ductwork, we can help.