How To Know If the Home’s Ductwork Needs To Be Repaired or Replaced
Air ducts are a vital part of any central air conditioning or heating system. But when the ducts get damaged, whether by normal wear and tear, an invasive rodent, or any other force, all sorts of problems can ensue.
These issues will only worsen as time passes, so it’s crucial to catch and address damaged ducts as early as possible. Keep reading to learn how to spot signs of air duct damage, how professionals fix them, and how homeowners can benefit from duct replacement.
Signs of Damaged Air Ducts
There are several ways to tell if the home’s air ducts might be damaged. Among the most common signs of damaged ductwork are weak airflow and hot or cold spots throughout the house.
These issues will cause the unit’s energy efficiency to suffer, resulting in higher utility bills (another sign to look for). Strange sounds such as whistling or howling indicate air rapidly escaping through a narrow gap or being bottlenecked by a crushed duct. Rattling often points to loose joints or connections.
If odd smells are coming from the vents, they may have become contaminated with mold, mildew, vermin, or debris from an attic or crawlspace. Excessive levels of dust or increased respiratory discomfort may also indicate a leak in the ductwork.
Air Duct Replacement Benefits
In some cases, it may be best to replace the air ducts altogether, like if the damage is widespread, if the ducts are more than 15-20 years old, or if the ductwork has become contaminated with mold. The ducts will also need to be replaced if the HVAC unit has been replaced and the old ducts are too large or too small to provide maximum efficiency.
Two of the most obvious benefits of air duct replacement include improved indoor air quality and better performance, as airflow and circulation will be unhindered by leaks and obstructions, and contaminants won’t be slipping into the ductwork from surrounding spaces. Improving airflow and minimizing the loss of air pressure and temperature will also mean that the HVAC unit will operate more efficiently, resulting in lower energy bills. New ducts, installed correctly, can also have the added benefit of carrying less noise from the unit, making the home quieter.
Air Duct Repair Explained
If the damage isn’t very extensive, the best course of action may be to repair the damaged ducts instead of replacing them, or in some cases, small sections may be replaced and other sections repaired. Professionals can use a few different methods to repair leaky or damaged ducts.
One effective duct repair method is duct sealant tape, aka aluminum foil tape. Not to be confused with basic duct tape, which, despite the name, is not rated for extreme temperatures and should never be used on ductwork. HVAC duct sealant tape is a durable metallic tape that can be used to cover small gaps in metal air ducts.
Mastic sealant is another method that more closely resembles caulk or epoxy. This can be applied to many types of ductwork to form a durable and long-lasting seal on cracks or connections (such as where ducts join with the air registers). Another method is Aeroseal, which involves sealing off the ductwork, pressurizing it, and spraying an aerosol-based sealant into the ducts, which travels to the leaks and seals them from the inside.
Professionals will generally use one or more of these duct repair methods, then go through and add hanger straps or brackets to support suspended ducts and reduce vibration, helping prevent future damage. If a homeowner suspects they have damaged or leaky air ducts, it’s always a good idea to call a trusted local HVAC specialist for an air duct inspection!
About G.F. Bowman, Inc.
G.F. Bowman, Inc. is a family-owned and operated company with over 50 years of experience serving Cleona, PA, and the surrounding areas. They provide flat-rate pricing, honest service, permanent solutions, and prompt arrival. Call them today for heating or air conditioning services in Cleona, PA.