It’s easy to assume that your heat ducts will last the lifetime of your house. They do last a long time, but not forever. We’ve put together seven signs to let you know it may be time to replace your ducts.
Debris around edges of vents
After years of moving air from the furnace or air conditioner through the ducts to the vents that bring you year-round comfort, eventually they begin to show wear and tear. You may notice a ring of small marks around the edges of your vents. This is made up of dust particles, lint, pet hair and small insects. At the very least, you need to have your ducts inspected to determine if the leaks causing the build-up are significant enough that the ducts need replacing.
Have you noticed that you or your family members seem to sniffle and sneeze more than you used to? Does it happen even when no one in the family has a cold? If you answered yes to these questions, it is possible that your duct work is pushing dust and pollen through the system. The cause of this is usually a leak somewhere in the system that is allowing unfiltered outside air in. Leaving this problem unaddressed will only continue to make it worse as time goes on. The leak will expand and allow more outside dust and pollen into your house. Best to get it inspected by a professional.
Mold and Mildew Odors
Poorly connected or sparsely insulated duct work can cause condensation to form when hot air moves through ducts that are cold from lack of insulation. Mold and mildew eventually form on the damp outer surface. Then the heating system will start circulating these spores throughout your house. Aside from smelling bad, mold and mildew are bad for your health. They cause respiratory problems and some types of mold can be toxic to humans and their pets. In addition, mold and mildew spores can attach themselves to your cloth-covered furniture or carpets and establish colonies. If you have a mold or mildew problem it is definitely time to replace your ducts.
Endless Large Quantities of Dust
It’s a dusty planet. Dust is everywhere and it will always be everywhere. But if you have recently noticed that you seem to have extra thick layers of dust, despite even half-way decent housekeeping rituals, you probably need to replace your ducts. What is most likely happening is dust from outdoors is working its way into the heating system through leaks and holes. Because your heating system is designed to heat your entire house, it will also deposit dust in your entire house. Remember, a certain small amount of dust is normal. But if you notice that dust layers are thick or reappear soon after dusting, it’s time to have your ducts inspected.
Hot or Cold Spots or Rooms
Does it seem that some rooms in your house are always colder in the winter and warmer in the summer than the rest of the house? This is almost always caused by faulty duct work that is failing to transport enough air through the ducts to these hot or cold spots. The usual cause of this problem is a very large leak in the ducts. A quick diagnosis can be made by using a portable thermometer to take the temperature in the affected rooms. A large difference from the rest of the house indicates a large leak may be the culprit. Have this verified by having a professional inspect your heating system. Unfortunately, in this case you may need a new duct system.
Higher than Normal Energy Bills
If your heating and cooling bills take a sudden spike, or even a gradual spike over time, there is a pretty good chance that your heating and cooling systems are losing at least 20 percent of their heating or cooling capacity. Chances are very good that you will need new ducts if your HVAC system is losing this much of its output.
Unusual Noises from Heating System
Is your heating and air conditioning system making unusually loud noises? Although they do produce a certain amount of noise when in operation, excessive or unusual noise is a reliable sign of loose duct work. The duct’s joints are connected with plastic and/or fiberglass tape or adhesive. They can deteriorate over time or suffer damage. This is another sign that you may need to replace your ducts.
Contact Veterans AC & Heat Inc. at 727-748-8387 for an inspection and estimate of the health and condition of your heating and cooling systems.