One of the most vital systems in your home is the HVAC unit. The air ducts determine how well this system functions because they transport warm air into cold rooms and cool air when the temperatures are above normal. Unfortunately, these ducts are liable to wear out after some time, resulting in a very uncomfortable home. To avoid this, here are some of the things you should watch out for to determine if your ductworks need replacement.
1. THE PERIOD OF TIME IT HAS BEEN IN USE
Damage caused by aging is inevitable. When your ductwork is transporting hot air, it will expand due to the heat. Similarly, it contracts when transporting cold air. This repeated contraction and expansion alone is enough to make it grow old and brittle, which could ultimately lead to holes, gaps, and cracks on its body.
A duct system that has been maintained well over its years in use will last for approximately 10 to 20 years. Good maintenance involves regular inspections, cleaning, and repairing damages immediately they occur. Failure to do either of these will fasten the damage process of your ductwork. However, the basic rule of thumb is replacing your ductwork after every 15 years of use. Don’t wait until it’s totally worn out.
2. WHEN YOU NOTICE THE PRESENCE OF MOLD
Mold infestation is one of the major complaints in homes. You can find them anywhere in your home, such as your pool, bathroom, basement, wall, including your ductwork. Molds spores can be carried in the air; therefore, when your unit sucks in air to warm it up or cool it, mold finds a way to get into your ductwork. For mold to form a colony, it will need water and food. Water droplets that accumulate inside the ducts are plenty enough for mold to flourish. And they will use dirt, dead skin cells, and dead insects trapped inside as their source of food.
Mold infestation in your duct is hazardous because it puts you and your entire family at a health risk. Breathing in the spores will cause headaches, breathing problems, skin irritation, itchy eyes, nasal congestion, sneezing, coughing, and other allergy-related symptoms that only get worse with time. You can detect mold visible or by their odor. Usually, they appear white, black, or green and produce a strong, musty odor.
3. VISIBLE DAMAGES
You can also spot physical damages on your ducts by visually inspecting them. You will often find that the segments that run through your garage or attic are prone to damages. The situation gets worse when you are used to storing things on top or exposed parts of the ducts. Continuous storage will make the duct brittle and could eventually collapse or crush.
Also, duct segments near sections of your house that were recently renovated are liable for damages. Dent on the duct could restrict airflow, or they start to leak. Of course, you can repair small damages. However, if it is too much, you should replace the entire ductwork.
4. INEFFECTIVE DESIGN
If your ducts were installed over a decade ago, chances are their design is outdated and could be either causing you huge bills or doesn’t cool or warm your house as required. Old ductworks have major design flaws. You will find some of them with improper insulation, unnecessary twists and kinks, or uneven heating and cooling in your home.
Ductwork with sharp bends impedes the flow of air from reaching the vents. If the size is too large, your HVAC unit will fail to heat or cool the air indoors adequately. And if the distance between the delivery event and the HVAC unit is too long, there will be heavy energy losses, and you will be giving the HVAC unit too much work. Dragonfly Heating & Cooling can help you in building a great design that is both effective and energy-efficient.
5. DECLINING AIR QUALITY
Indoor air quality is affected by multiple parts of the entire HVAC system. However, ducts are the major culprit. Dust particles, pollen, and pet dander will often get trapped inside the ducts. So even after changing your filters, the air flowing through the ducts will pick up these particles and spread them in all your rooms. Also, as mentioned earlier, pollen and dust particles provide perfect conditions for mold to grow and spread in the duct. The bigger they get, the worse the indoor air quality becomes.
Moreover, leaky ducts can pick up particles and distribute them throughout your house. So, if a dead rat or possum is lying close to your home, or any other foul-smelling things, the filtration system won’t be able to freshen that air. Bad odors can also be caused by back-drafting. This is when a leaky duct causes the reversal of the ordinary direction of airflow. Carbon monoxide from combustion appliances will be sent to your rooms. You should call for help immediately when this happens because continuous exposure to carbon monoxide can cause serious health problems.
6. INCREASING ELECTRICITY BILLS
Any problem with your duct always translates to the bills you pay. For example, a poorly designed duct system will overwork the HVAC unit, leading to high energy requirements. Also, if air is leaking, the thermostat will force the system to work harder to heat or cool the house, leading to high energy consumption.
You should take note of the amount of money that you pay monthly for electricity bills. When you notice a sudden rise, then something is spending more energy than it is supposed to. You can contact Dragonfly Heating & Cooling to inspect the source of the spike. The source of the problem could be your other electronics or parts of your HVAC system besides the duct.
7. PEST INFESTATION
During the cold nights of winter, or the extremely high temperatures in summer, pests will often look for a comfortable place to shelter, and for most of them, your duct is the perfect spot. It has perfect temperatures despite the conditions outside. They are undisturbed and dark—exactly what pets are looking for. If there is a leak somewhere in the duct, pets will crawl through, causing blockages in your duct systems. Some may even fail to find their way out and end up dying, causing awful smells that are very difficult or almost impossible to locate the source. Other problems with pests include weird noises in the house and the spread of bacteria and microbes that you have no idea where it came from.
Do a thorough inspection of your ductwork to see if there are holes that can allow pests. Also, cover your vents with a mesh that will prevent any animal from getting in. if the damages appear too server for repairs, then it is time to replace your ductwork. Consult with us if you need any professional help.
8. WHEN MAKING UPGRADES
If you are installing a new air conditioner or furnace, some parts or the entire ductwork system may require replacement or adjustment. This is particularly common if you are getting a new model that is not compatible with your current duct system.
If you have any problems with your duct, either repair or replace it immediately. Postponing the process will only lead to more serious problems, including serious health issues. Our technicians are qualified to give you tailored solutions to any type of problem you are facing. Call Dragonfly Heating & Cooling of Riverside, CA, today to inspect, repair, or replace your duct system.