How Do You Know if Ductwork is Bad?

August 16, 2023

The HVAC system plays a significant role for homeowners in South Charleston and the Kanawha Valley. When properly installed and maintained, your system can regulate your indoor climate throughout the year. However, the ductwork, which is used to transport air throughout the home, can become compromised. The following signs will let you know if your ductwork is bad.

1. Visible Damage

Your ductwork should maintain its structural integrity for your HVAC system to operate correctly. Visible damage, such as cranks, dents, and punctures, can affect your system’s functioning by restricting or leaking heated and cooled air. Be sure to talk to a certified technician for repair services whenever you spot visible damage on your ductwork. In addition, always keep your ductwork free of leaning objects leaning protect its construction.

In many cases, your ductwork will be behind walls, under floors, and in ceilings, where it is hard to view. In this case, you can still remove the covers on your vents and look inside with a flashlight. Many ductwork professionals have long cameras that can go much further into the system to spot potential issues.

2. Strange Odors

Have you noticed strange odors in your home, particularly when the HVAC system is running? If so, your ductwork is bad. A musty smell may mean mold or mildew is growing in the ductwork. Scents of decay or urine can suggest that animals are living in the ducts. A professional will identify the primary cause of scents coming from your ductwork. Duct cleaning professionals can clean the ducts and sanitize them against microbes like mold. If the issue is related to animals, you might need to work with a wildlife removal specialist before the cleaning to remove the cause of the issue.

3. Poor Indoor Air Quality

If the air inside your home becomes dustier when the vents are on, your ductwork may be compromised. This occurs when holes in the ductwork pull dirty air from crawl spaces or other areas. A dusty interior can result in respiratory issues such as difficulty breathing, coughing, and sneezing.

4. Uneven Heating and Cooling

Your HVAC systems should maintain the same temperature conditions throughout your home. If some of your rooms feel warmer than others, the ductwork could be to blame. This is especially true if you find that the ducts closest to your HVAC unit are the hottest when heating or the coolest when the air conditioning is on. You may be able to tell which branch of your ductwork has issues if you can take note of which rooms are the most different from your intended temperature.

5. Sudden Increase in Energy Bills

If you experience a sudden increase in energy bills while your consumption levels have remained the same, the issue could be your duct. Leaky ductwork throws away heated and cooled air in the attic, forcing your system to work harder and use more energy to achieve the desired results. Leaky ductwork has been estimated to cause as much as 30% efficiency loss for your HVAC system.

6. Restricted Airflow

Poor or restricted airflow may be caused by compromised ductwork. Cracks, broken seals, and disconnected joints can lead to poor airflow output at your vents. The issues can result from bent and crushed ducts as well. Ductwork blocked by debris buildup can also cause poor airflow. Other causes of restricted airflow include closed dampers and clogged filters in air intake vents.

7. Loud Noises

The HVAC system is built to operate with minimal noise. Therefore, if your notice any loud, strange noises coming from your ductwork, talk to an expert for a lasting solution. Rattling noises can be due to loose parts in the HVAC or ductwork connections. Scratching noises are the work of pests settling in your ductwork. Whistling noises can be a clue that there are smaller holes in your ducts.

Turn to HVAC Experts

If your ductwork has any of the signs discussed above or any other issues, talk to our HVAC experts at Mullen Plumbing, Heating and Cooling. Our company has been diligently offering superior-quality HVAC services to clients in South Charleston and the Kanawha Valley since 1950. We provide heating and cooling maintenance, repair, and installation, plus fall tune-ups, ductwork, and indoor air quality services. Our plumbing staff can help with repair, water heaters, drain cleaning, faucet or toilet repair and installation, gas, water and sewer lines, water heaters, and backflow prevention. Contact us today at Mullen Plumbing, Heating and Cooling to schedule professional HVAC services.

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