If you own the same house long enough, you’ll probably face ductwork replacement at some point. HVAC ductwork is the circulatory system of your heating and cooling components. Aging, leaky ducts become more common as time passes, however. In the worst cases, it’s not unusual to find ducts leaking up to 50% of the conditioned airflow that is supposed to be circulating through the home.
Most experts estimate that the maximum life span of residential ducts can be up to 20 years. Depending on the quality of the home’s original construction, however, ductwork replacement may be required earlier than that. Here are some signs that a duct inspection by a qualified HVAC contractor is due now or in the near future.
Increasing HVAC operating costs.
If other issues with the furnace or AC are ruled out, ducts are a prime suspect as to the cause of increasing bills for home heating and cooling. As conditioned air is lost through duct leakage and deterioration, the system runs longer to maintain thermostat settings, causing energy costs to spiral upward.
If all HVAC supply and return vents in the house are open and unobstructed, you should feel a noticeable flow of warm or cooled air entering every room through supply vents. If system airflow seems weaker than it used to be, however, ductwork replacement may be required to restore full function.
Inconsistent temperature control.
Loss of conditioned airflow from aging, leaky ducts — as well as infiltration of unconditioned air into the ductwork — can make certain rooms stubbornly colder than desired, while others are uncomfortably hot. If frequent thermostat adjustments are required to maintain consistent comfort, ductwork replacement may be in order.
Air quality issues.
If you notice dust in HVAC airflow or musty odors are common, system ductwork may be at fault. Duct leakage may actually draw unfiltered, contaminated air into the system airflow from zones where ducts are routed, such as the attic, crawl space, or inside walls.
Professional inspection and leak testing can determine whether ductwork replacement is required. Contact the experts at Hansberger Refrigeration and Electric Company for more information.