Air Duct Repair

7 Signs You Need Air Duct Repair

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.

Visible Dust and Dirt Around Vents

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.

Sudden Increase of Energy Bills

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.

Scary Sounds Mean You Need Air Duct Repair

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.

Frequent Filter Changes

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.

Excess Debris in HVAC Components

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.

Signs of Infestations

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.

Visible Mold

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.

 

attic cleaning

Top 10 Attic Cleanup Tips You Can’t Live Without

Have you been looking up at your attic hatch thinking it was time to shake the dust?

Has it been years since you’ve been inside that subtle space longer than the few seconds it takes to toss a box into its darkened depths?

If so, it might be time for an attic cleaning. With this 10-step guide, we’ll help you turn the monumental task into a chore you can manage.

Top 10 Tips for Easy Attic Cleaning

Make sure you follow our checklist in order! We have listed our steps chronologically in order to help you make the process as efficient as possible.

Step One: Remove Everything

An empty room is the easiest to clean. Before you start pulling out brooms, dusters, and other pieces of your cleaning arsenal, remove the contents of your attic.

This will allow you to clean and inspect every inch of the room, as well as help you sort through items you don’t need anymore.

2. Wipe Away Every Inch of Dust

Whether it’s been months or years since you’ve cleaned your attic space, you’re likely to find an admirable collection of dust. You’ll want to dust every inch, from your windows and frames to any wooden beams, baseboards, walls, and other surfaces.

If the area is really dusty, wear a mask to prevent inhalation. An electrostatically charged duster works best for jobs like this. If it gets too dirty, clean it off before continuing.

Make sure you cover everything, including light fixtures, fans, and hard to reach areas.

3. Vacuum, Then Sweep

When you have a layer of dust and debris on the floor, a broom will stir up more than it cleans. Instead, start with a vacuum. Pick up any large debris that it can’t tackle, then suck up what you can from one end of the room to the other.

Keep in mind the type of vacuum you use matters. If you have a high-efficiency bag or canister with a filter, these will work best. Vacuums can capture the dust mites, dead insects, and allergens that settle in quiet attics.

For tight corners and awkwardly shaped areas, use hoses and other vacuum extensions. Be thorough, then follow up with a broom to sweep up any remaining dust and debris.

4. Inspect Your Insulation

Once the attic is clean, you’ll want to inspect your insulation. If your insulation has fallen below the floor joists, you need to add more. If you can’t see the floor joists above the insulation, they are likely below them which is a sign of healthy insulation.

Insulation should be evenly distributed. No gaps or shallows areas should show.

If your insulation shows signs of dampness, mold, or mildew, then you will want to replace it. A good portion of the air in your home circulates through this area. You don’t want these substances getting into the air within your home.

5. Look for Moisture and Mold

Your insulation isn’t the only place your attic may be harboring unhealthy mold. Give your empty attic a close and careful inspection.

Mold can come in a variety of colors, from gray and black to brown, orange, green, or white. If your attic smells musty, it’s likely growing there.

If you have mold in your home, the best thing to do is call an attic cleaning service. You don’t want to risk it lingering or growing out of control, especially if you have any form of asthma or allergies. Left to thrive, mold can cause respiratory problems.

6. Take a Few Preventative Measures

While you’re checking every nook and cranny, make a point to identify any sealant issues. If you have a draft coming through a window or open space, it can increase your heating and air bill while making it harder for your unit to do its job.

Pests are also a problem that will need addressing. If you notice signs of rodents, such as excrement or chewed boxes, call in the expert to get rid of the problem.

7. Sort Your Belongings

While you still have everything outside of your attic, now is a good time to sort through it. Get rid of the things you haven’t used in years and sort through the items you still intend to store.

Keep these items organized in plastic storage boxes to prevent exposure to the elements. It will also make it easier to store, allowing you to optimize on space.

8. Donate What You Don’t Need

Do you have a pile of things left over that you realize you don’t need? Perfect! Take the time to donate them to your local charity’s drop-off location. These good deeds are tax deductible.

Plus, it feels good to recycle your old items and give them a new purpose for someone else.

9. Replace Things in an Orderly Fashion

As you go to put your newly organized items back into your attic for storage, be mindful of where you put them. Place your more frequently used items in easy-to-access areas.

By keeping your attic space organized, you make it easier to sort, retrieve, and clean.

10. Make Cleaning the Attic Part of Your Routine

Cleaning the attic shouldn’t be a massive undertaking dared every few years. Instead, make it a point to clean it twice a year. This will help you keep the dust and debris under control.

It also helps you keep your home in good shape. When you clean and inspect your attic bi-annually, you maintain its integrity. This will help prevent major repairs in the future, such as damages caused by pests, mold, and mildew.

Need Help Repairing Your Attic?

One of the most challenging aspects of attic cleaning is when we uncover bigger projects lying beneath the dust and knickknacks. If you are cleaning your attic only to realize your insulation needs repairing or you have rodents scurrying around upstairs, pass the task on to the professionals.

Here at Attic Solutions, we deliver exceptional home improvement services to help you create a properly sealed, clean, and insulated attic space. If you live in the San Francisco Bay area and want a free estimate, contact us today.

When to Upgrade Your Attic Insulation and Save Energy Costs in the Process

Insulation helps to keep your home warm. It makes your property more energy-efficient so you can save money. When autumn and winter arrive, having the added benefit of a well-insulated home will keep everyone warm. However, even if you have insulation in your home, you might discover that it isn’t adequate. Even good insulation only lasts so long, and the necessary insulation might not have been installed in your home in the first place. Updating your insulation can have huge benefits. By replacing older insulation with new materials, you can increase the efficiency of your home or business.

Signs Your Insulation Isn’t Adequate

Knowing whether your insulation needs to be upgraded is the first step in the process. There are technical ways of measuring the effectiveness of your insulation, but you might begin by checking for some common signs. If your insulation isn’t adequate, you might find that you have high energy bills, but you’re not sure why. Check your energy bills over the last few years to see if they’ve slowly increased.

Another sign of inadequate insulation could be fluctuating temperatures throughout your home. Are there different temperatures in different rooms? This could be a sign of inadequate insulation. You could also find that ceilings, walls or floors are cold to the touch. Drafts in your home could indicate under insulation too.

One surprising sign of bad insulation is mice or other pests in your property. They can get in through small holes and cracks, which also lets cold air into the building. At the same time, warm air escapes. Poor insulation could also let water into your home. And in especially cold temperatures, you might find ice forming on your roof or even pipes freezing.

Measuring Insulation Effectiveness

If you suspect that your insulation isn’t providing you the efficiency you need, you can get a better understanding of how it works. The efficiency of insulation is measured in R-values. A higher R-value means that the insulation material is a better insulator. For example, an inch of fiberglass insulation has an R-value of about 3.7, whereas sprayed polyurethane can rate above a 7. Check what type of insulation your home has, and where it is insulated, and you can get a good idea of the efficiency of your insulation. There are different recommendations for different parts of your property, and they can vary by region too.

Working Out Insulation Needs

If you’re unsure about whether your insulation is adequate, you can work it out. New homes should have good insulation, but many older homes might not be up to scratch. If you want to measure how effective your current insulation is, it’s fairly easy. The easiest place to do it is in an unfinished attic, where you simply need to stick a ruler into the insulation to measure the depth. To check walls, first turn off the electricity and measure the depth by unscrewing an electrical outlet cover and inserting a hanger into the open space. Multiply the depth in inches by the R-value of the type of insulation, and compare it to the value you would like.

How Improving Your Insulation Will Help

Updating your insulation can help you to deal with a range of problems in your home or business. When your property has adequate insulation, the heat won’t escape and cold air will find it more difficult to get in. You could make some huge savings on your energy bills when the building is properly insulated. You can turn down your thermostat, and you might notice a reduction in drafts and cold spots. Your home should be warmer and more evenly heated with the right insulation.

Additional Energy-saving Tips

In addition to improving your insulation, there are various other things that you can do to reduce energy costs in your home. Ensuring a good seal around windows and door frames will help you to reduce drafts and air leaks. Replacing deteriorating caulk will help with this, and prevent moisture from damaging your home too. It’s also a good idea to look for any small holes or gaps in floors and walls, as well as under doors. These can be filled in or covered up in various ways to prevent drafts. If your home has a chimney, it also makes sense to stop drafts coming down it.

Of course, once your home is more energy-efficient, you can turn down your heating. Take control of your thermostat with a smart thermostat. It can learn your ideal temperature for different times of the day, and you can control it from your phone.