We all glance at our ducts once a year when pulling out holiday stuff from the attic. The quick eyeball doesn't tell us much, though. "Yep, there are my ducts," you think.
But, those sheet metal pipes can hide some horrific secrets. In some cases, clear issues make enough noise to alert you to problems. Or, a rank smell becomes intolerable so you're begging your ducts for mercy.
But, some critical issues can be invisible. They will get your attention soon enough. Skyrocketing energy costs or a constant dusty home are a few. Worse, undetected mold can cause your family to become ill.
If you see signs of trouble, you can mitigate some troubling effects. And, save money in the process.
Read on for seven signs you need air duct repair.
Your heating and cooling system works the same way we breathe. Air circulates throughout the duct system, exiting through vents. The same air then intakes through the system to either cool or heat your rooms.
This happens several times a day. The dirt and debris from the system or your home filters out with the help of the removable filters you (hopefully) replace. It's vital that soil does not reach the HVAC machinery.
It can break down inner workings, rendering it useless. If you see dust and dirt gathering around vents, this is a sure sign filtration is not working right. If after cleaning vents, the build-up occurs within a day or two, it's time to get a duct checkup.
Every energy bill spikes at certain times of the year. But, sudden increases for outside of those seasons are a sign of trouble. This tells you that your HVAC system is working harder than it should.
You can check filters, refrigerant levels, and make sure fans are spinning free. You can also check for clear tears or holes in the ducts. But not all gaps will be visible. Connections in the grid can wear down.
Simple moving of attic storage items can damage or move ductwork that's unnoticeable. Without realizing it, you are cooling or heating your attic or basement along with your home.
This will double your costs. Important tip: never repair a duct with duct tape. That's not what it's for, and it doesn't work. Call a professional.
The sound of crashing or bending metal in a car accident, for example, can haunt us forever. The noise is unmistakable, unsettling, and scary as hell. HVAC systems are heavy machinery, and duct systems are heavy metal.
When connections break, or holes occur, the resulting sounds can keep you up at night. Try turning your system on without the interior air handler (the big silver box inside the home).
If no sounds are coming from the outdoor unit, chances are good you have a duct repair in your future.
Filters for AC units or furnaces should last a month or two. During peak usage, every 30 days is best. If you have pets, dust and dander can clog them up quicker.
But, if you change them in a regular pattern and notice they clog up faster than usual, your ducts may be at fault.
Excess dust and dirt are getting into the duct work. The worst thing to do at this point is nothing. It will get worse.
You have to open a few panels but check coils and the interior spaces of your units. If there are dust and dirt accumulations, it's getting into your ducts.
And, here's the thing about dust. It's annoying and clogging up your system. But, it's also a home for the most finicky of mold spores.
Once they move in, it takes a team of pro cleaners to evict them.
HVAC professionals can fill volumes of books on what they find in duct systems. We hope they don't choose pop-up books because the sights are as disgusting as you imagine.
The reason older homes have check-ups for radon gas is due to dead rats in duct systems. Small holes and tears in systems are an open door for insects, too.
Since we can't see to every turn and twist in ductwork, critters can hide and multiply in the dark. But, they also have to emerge for food and water.
If you see fresh droppings or dead insects around ductwork, assume they have their way in there. Worse, if you notice a rancid smell emitting from your vents, it's never good news.
It's not only disgusting, but it's also a health danger. Make an immediate call for a pro.
If there's mold in your home, the causes may vary. Water can find it's way from rooftops or exterior doors into the wood of your home. This dampness is like a jacuzzi party for mold.
As long as there's a place to stay, it will grow anywhere, including in your dirty ducts. It can hide in places we can't see. But, if it is visible near your HVAC system, chances are the spores are blowing around your house. In summer, check outdoor units often for signs.
Make sure water from condensation has a clear exit. Standing water is one of mold's favorite playgrounds. Don't give it the chance to settle in. If you see signs of mold, air duct cleaning is vital.
Then, repairs will ensure the problem doesn't happen again.
No one should have to face their attic alone. We've got help with cleaning, air duct repair, and pests. Contact us for a free estimate.