Out of sight, out of mind. This old saying has always been a favorite of mine; there’s so much truth in it. At least, that’s what I’ve noticed over the 30 years I’ve worked in the HVAC business. If people can’t see it, they mostly forget about it.
This is often the case with HVAC duct replacements. Ductwork hides away in our ceilings and walls, so we don’t really think about it. But, whether or not you realize it, your ducts are doing a lot of hard work for you. They transfer all the warm and cool air from your furnace and air conditioner to the hard to reach areas of your home. As they age, developing cracks and leaks, this already difficult feat becomes harder and harder. If they’ve given you many years of loyal service, it may be time to replace your ducts.
So, what are the signs that it’s time to replace your ductwork, considering they aren’t staring you in the face every day? I’m going to give you some tips on how to tell if it’s time for an HVAC duct replacement—and fill you in on the big advantages of investing in new ducts for your home.
Signs It’s Time for an HVAC Duct Replacement
Luckily, when your ducts aren’t serving you well, they’ll usually let you know. The key is to know what to look, smell, listen, and even feel for. That’s right, your ducts will give you clues that something is up, so make sure you pay attention for any of the following signs that you’re in need of an HVAC duct replacement:
- Your home is very dusty. Does it seem particularly stuffy or dusty in your home these days? Are your allergies acting up? If so, it’s possible that your ducts have holes, gaps, or are improperly sealed. When this is the case, dust from outside the ductwork gets inside, travels through the ducts, and ends up in your home. Another possibility is that ducts carrying exhaust are leaking into your home—something that negatively impacts your health and air quality in your home.
- You smell mildew. If you notice a funny smell coming from your HVAC ducts, there’s a chance they could be moldy inside. Sometimes when warm, moist air travels through cold ductwork, condensation forms. This typically happens if your ductwork isn’t insulated well, or if the air moving through the ducts is particularly humid. Over time, condensation can encourage mold growth in the ducts, blowing unhealthy (and smelly) air into your home. Ducts can also leak condensation, which can cause a mold problem inside your ceiling. So, if you smell something funky, have your ducts inspected! A professional will have the right equipment needed to detect mold growth even deep inside your ductwork.
- Your HVAC unit is noisy. Your HVAC system should run pretty quietly. If it seems exceptionally noisy to you, it may be a sign that your ducts are too small for your HVAC system or that the ducts are imbalanced. When this is the case, your HVAC struggles to push air through too small of an opening, stressing the system and driving up your energy bill.
- Your home’s temperature is inconsistent. Do you ever feel like one part of your home is much warmer or cooler than the rest? This could be a sign that you have leaky HVAC ducts that are losing air and failing to sufficiently heat or cool certain parts of the house. It’s possible that inconsistent interior temperatures could be the result of unbalanced duct work, so make sure you have a seasoned HVAC pro diagnose the problem correctly.
All of these signs indicate that your ductwork needs a little love—or that your home is ready for an HVAC duct replacement. Don’t try poking around yourself, though. I recommend calling an experienced HVAC professional. They’ll be able to perform a thorough inspection of your ductwork using specialized tools to correctly diagnose any duct dilemmas. Then, together you can decide what the best course of action is. In some cases, you will need to replace all of your ductwork, but sometimes all that is needed are a few repairs or an insulation upgrade.
The Advantages of an HVAC Duct Replacement
If your ducts are acting up, causing a number of problems in your home, and are more than ten years old, it’s likely that you’ll need an HVAC duct replacement. If, however, your ducts are relatively new and they only have a few leaks, they may just need to be sealed. In either case, there are some major advantages of hiring a local HVAC professional to work their magic on your ducts.
Here are some of the top benefits to having your HVAC ducts replaced or repaired:
- #1: Increased energy efficiency, decreased bills. Expect to see a significant decrease in the cost of your energy bill with new or repaired ducts. When air escapes through leaks and cracks, you lose a lot of energy—and a lot of money. Once your ducts are in tip top shape, though, your HVAC won’t have to expend as much energy to cool or heat your home.
- #2: Improved air quality. There’s nothing like an HVAC ductwork replacement to give your home an air quality upgrade. No more dust, moldy smells, or allergens polluting the air in your home, resulting in fewer allergy flare-ups and better overall health. Even if a pro only recommends repairs, not a full replacement, you’ll still notice a significant difference in air quality.
- #3: Increased temperature regulation. Immediately after your ducts are replaced or repaired, you’ll notice that the temperature in your home is much more consistent from room to room. When air doesn’t leak or struggle through wrongly sized pipes, heating and cooling is a breeze. The conditioned air can actually be delivered to the right rooms—consistently.
- #4: A healthier, longer life for your HVAC system. Clean, sealed, and properly-sized ducts are a wonderful companion to your HVAC system. When heated or cooled air travels effortlessly through the ductwork, your system doesn’t have to strain to do its job. Because of this, keeping your ducts up to snuff can actually prolong the lifespan and efficiency of your HVAC unit.
As you can see, so much of your HVAC system’s efficinecy—and your home’s comfort—depends on your ducts. Even though you can’t see them, they’re there, working hard around the clock to keep you and your family healthy and comfortable in your home. Remember, even though they’re out of sight, they shouldn’t be out of mind.
But, if you have enough to worry about and would love someone else to think about your ductwork for you, call in a local HVAC expert to inspect your ducts for necessary repairs, or a full replacement. Get your ducts in a row and allow your HVAC system to run as smoothly and efficiently as possible, year round.
At Bell Brothers, we’re proponents of the whole home approach to health and efficiency. While our trained HVAC professionals would be happy to inspect and replace or repair your ducts, we’d love to also have a look at your windows and insulation to make sure they’re working efficiently as well. Contact us today to schedule your duct—or whole home—inspection.
Wondering how to finance a new furnace, or maybe even new windows and plumbing? HERO is a unique financing option that helps California homeowners afford energy efficient upgrades to their home. Contact Bell Brothers, a HERO-approved contractor, to learn more. Our local HVAC, plumbing, and window specialists will walk you through the entire process, from applications to installation.
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