Summer is coming, and that means that air conditioning will become critical to the comfort of your home. And your AC’s efficiency will become critical to the comfort of your bank account. Ensuring that your HVAC is working at peak efficiency means seasonal inspections. Does the fan motor need replacement? Should the coils be cleaned? Maybe you need new ductwork?
According to the ENERGY STAR program, up to 30 percent of the cold air moving through your ductwork is lost through connections and leaks. That’s a lot when you look at it as 30 percent of your electric bill.
Tops Signs to Look For
Here’s a list of the top signs that you need new ductwork in your home:
Hot and cold spots can indicate the need for new ductwork. If some rooms in your home are a lot hotter or colder than others, it’s possible there has been a break in the duct run. The ductwork may have become disconnected at the branch line or there may be a break between sections.
Don’t you love the feel of fresh, cold air coming out of the vents when your air conditioner kicks on? However, if you hear the system kick on and can’t detect any airflow, it may be a sign that you need new ductwork.
Your HVAC takes in air through a floor-level grille, cools it with the condensing unit, and then blows it all over your home via the ductwork.
Now, if you can’t feel the air moving at any of the vents, it may be a problem with the air handler. However, if it’s coming out forcefully at one vent and not at all at another, it’s likely there is a break in the duct between the two vents.
Clanging, banging, and rattling in the attic isn’t always the sign of a haunted house – it’s more likely that you need new ductwork. At the very least, it probably needs repair.
If you hear the bang and clang of metal, the duct support may need repair. A loose-hanging duct becomes disconnected from other sections in the duct run due to vibration.
A whooshing sound often indicates a leak in the duct run. Air escapes through gaps or tears in the ductwork, causing a whistling noise when the HVAC system is running.
If it seems like you have to dust your furniture more often than usual, it can mean a loss of integrity in the ductwork. Dirt and debris from chases and attics enter the ductwork through the holes and end up all over your home.
Your ductwork is designed as a closed loop to prevent damage to the equipment. Stale air enters through the intake and is filtered before entering the air handler. This prevents dirt and grit from damaging the units.
It also prevents excess dust from being circulated throughout your home, into your lungs, and all over your furnishings.
Mold and mildew odors
If your home starts to smell moldy, that could be a sign that you have problems with your ductwork. Condensation can build up on the outside of the ducts in the winter, when running your furnace, resulting in mold growth.
The presence of a moldy odor can mean that the mildew has infiltrated the interior of the duct through a gap. And that means your system could be blowing mold spores throughout your home.
Sharp electric bill increases
You can expect some increase in your energy costs when summer hits, but if it seems a bit more shocking than usual, you may need new ductwork.
Leaky or disconnected ductwork prevents your HVAC system from cooling your home to the set temperature. With cold air escaping from the broken duct runs, your air conditioner is hard-pressed to keep up with the demand.
Damaged ductwork can increase the demand on your HVAC equipment, using more energy and reducing the life of the equipment.
Repair or Replace Your Ductwork
The signs listed above could mean your ductwork needs cleaning and repair. And depending on the age of your duct runs, it may make more sense to replace the ducts entirely.
If you can reach your ductwork safely, you can often seal up any gaps yourself with aluminum tape or repair duct support issues.
However, a complete replacement offers the chance to improve the efficiency of your system beyond the original design. It’s a good opportunity to upgrade to insulated ductwork. Perhaps you might consider mini ducts, which provide conditioned air more efficiently to each room.For professional duct cleaning, repair, and replacement, make an appointment today with the experts at One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning in Chattanooga. We’ll make a complete inspection to ensure your AC is ready to perform at peak efficiency this summer.