Air ducts are often overlooked. Nevertheless, they’re some of the most important components of a home, ushering air in and out and powering cooling and heating systems. But for all the benefits proper ductwork brings, there are also many issues that can arise from ducts that have been neglected for too long.
In fact, many issues in the home can be traced back to faulty air ducts.
This guide will first walk through the various reasons that air ducts need to be repaired or replaced. Then, we’ll go over the impacts these faulty ducts can have, as well as what you can do to fix any problems you may have with your ductwork.
Let’s start with the five most common reasons why ducts fall into disrepair:
#1: Flawed or Compromised Design
Ductwork design should prioritize efficiency. For ducts to function properly—moving as much air as possible with the least amount of loss—a few key factors are required:
- Cover the least amount of ground possible
- Maximize straight paths
- Minimize turns
While qualified HVAC and other technicians understand these principles and apply them during installation, complications can arise over the lifespan of a given air duct. Construction and renovations can lead to new obstructions or changes to duct design. Or ducts may be reinstalled by amateurs rather than professionals.
In any case, faulty design is a fast track to disrepair.
#2: Leaks in the Ductwork
Even properly designed ductwork is bound to deteriorate over time, and leaks are a problem that will impact all ducts at some point in their lifespan.
As ducts channel air in and out of your home, the constant flow of air can take a toll on the ducts and their connections. Over time, the force of that air, as well as debris, can dislodge connections and corrupt sealants. These openings lead to air escaping, which causes inefficiencies and impacts the indoor air quality throughout your home.
In addition, these leaky air ducts can be caused by, or lead to suboptimal airflow.
#3: Inadequate Insulation
Leaks and kinks aren’t the only frictions to efficient airflow.
The primary function of a duct is to transport air at specific temperatures. They pump hot air in the winter and cold air in the summer. And if they’re not insulated properly, the air won’t retain its temperature efficiently. Insulation is extremely important for air ducts to function properly.
However, this crucial importance is sometimes overlooked, and ducts can be left without insulation, or insulated inadequately. In addition, even once-properly installed duct insulation may deteriorate over time due to infestation or other issues.
#4: Dirt Accumulation
Finally, an issue that impacts all air ducts is the steady accumulation of dirt.
Innumerable particles of dirt and germs exist in every square inch of air. The specific kinds differ depending on surroundings; air inside your home has its own unique characteristics, as does the air outside. Since air ducts perform the double duty of piping air both into and out of your home, they’re constantly transporting all of these various contaminants to and fro.
Over time, this dirt will accumulate, causing:
- Damage to the ducts
- Contamination of air inside the home
- Inefficiencies in the air ducts’ performance
Dirt buildup is the ultimate, inevitable wear and tear. And while regular cleanings and maintenance can help, repair is also inevitable.
Now that you know how and why ducts come to need repair, it’s important to understand what kinds of negative effects these faulty ducts can have.
Impacts of Ducts in Disrepair
If any of these common problems are present in your home, your ducts are in need of some care. But while those issues are the reasons air ducts fail, the real catalyst for homeowners to do something about them are the repercussions.
Faulty air ducts can cause major problems for you, your home, and the environment.
Comfort, Health, and Safety
One of the surest signs that your ductwork is in need of repair is ineffective or inconsistent air conditioning and heating. Since air ducts primarily have to do with cooling and heating, some of the biggest effects of faulty ductwork involve the temperature inside your home.
If your home is colder or hotter than it should be, the problem might be your air ducts.
Plus, as noted above, issues with air ducts can lead to more than just inefficiencies; they can also recirculate dangerous toxins throughout your home. With poorer air quality, health issues can arise like:
- Flu-like symptoms
- General lung problems
And, finally, faulty ducts can pose immediate safety concerns by backdrafting dangerous combustible gases (back) into your home, such as carbon monoxide.
Cost Efficiency and Sustainability
Another major impact of faulty air ducts is the financial burden of inefficiency. A cooling or heating system that’s working harder than it needs to be is a major drain on your resources.
Not only that—it’s also a major drain on the world’s resources.
For those concerned with environmental issues, faulty air ducts can throw a wrench into your plans for an eco-friendly lifestyle. By working harder and less efficiently, cooling and heating systems aren’t just running up your monthly energy bills. They’re also drawing on more natural resources, such as fossil fuels, increasing your carbon footprint.
For these reasons, and more, you may be wondering:
Do You Need Air Duct Repair?
If these have been on the to-do list for ages now… Probably.
Unless your ducts are brand new, or they’ve recently been repaired, there’s a good chance they would benefit from maintenance, if not reparative service.
If any of the five reasons listed above apply to you, then you need to service your ducts in one way or another. But, depending on your circumstances, you may not need to repair your ducts; cleaning and maintenance may do the trick. Otherwise, you might need to completely replace them.
Let’s take a look at what each procedure entails:
The simplest way to ensure that your air ducts perform well over time is to conduct regular maintenance. This is something you can do on your own, without professional help.
Some key practices to consider include:
- Cleaning built-up dirt and grime
- Screening for and addressing pest infestations
- Checking and reinforcing all connections and sealants
Keeping up with your air ducts is the best way to preserve them over the long-term. Well-maintained ductwork requires less frequent repair and won’t need to be replaced nearly as soon.
If your ducts are in need of care beyond basic cleaning and maintenance, you should call in professional help. Trained technicians are able to assess problems and provide solutions that address not just surface effects, but root causes.
Professional repair includes but is not limited to:
- Targeted fixes for broken air duct pieces
- Reinstallation of individual pieces, sections, or connections
If you know that there are problems with your air ducts, but you don’t want or need to replace your whole system, repairs are your best option. Reparative work can prolong the lifespan of your existing system, helping you get the most value out of your air ducts.
Finally, there are certain scenarios in which fixing one or more individual pieces of equipment won’t solve the underlying issues. If there are deep-seated issues with your air ducts, such as problems with their initial design, there is only so much repair work can do.
Sometimes, what you need is a complete removal and replacement. This is the most involved solution, encompassing:
- Analysis of existing ducts and space
- Planning for new air duct installation
- Removal of ductwork
- New air duct installation
For this complicated process, you need professionals you can count on.
Air Duct Repair Services
Attic Construction has been providing repair and construction services across southern California since early 2011. Among our most popular offerings are robust air duct cleaning and repair services, including everything from cleaning to repair and replacement.
Don’t let faulty air ducts impede your health and increase your expenses. Get in touch for a free inspection with absolutely no strings attached! We’ll come assess the situation, and you won’t owe anything unless we agree on a repair or replacement job. Plus, for residents in San Diego, we offer a $300 discount on all air duct services.
So, what are you waiting for? Get your air ducts repaired or replaced today!
- Hiller. Signs You Need Air Duct Replacement. https://happyhiller.com/blog/signs-you-need-air-duct-replacement/
- Pippin Brothers. 6 Most Common Duct Problems In Your Home. https://www.pippinbrothers.com/blog/article/6_most_common_duct_problems_in_your_home
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Written By Joseph Sheiner
Joseph Sheiner is a construction industry professional with over 15 years of experience. He began his career in the insulation industry in 2012, and co-founded Attic Construction Inc in 2013. As CEO of the company, Joe oversees all operations and is in charge of training and product knowledge.
Under Joe’s leadership, Attic Construction has become the largest leading Attic Restoration Company in San Diego, Orange County and Phoenix. He has personally performed and supervised insulation work in over 7000 homes. He is certified by Owens Corning as a CEE (Certified Energy Expert) and is a licensed contractor by the CSLB.
Most recently, Joe has helped expand Attic Construction to two additional locations – Orange County and Phoenix. He is currently working on expanding to additional locations in the near future.
Great work! Our attic went from totally disgusting to pristine. They are courteous and professional and clean up after themselves.
-Karen L. Santee, CA
Andrew was very informative and helpful during the whole process. Excellent communication and his team did a great job. He came on Sunday and the work was done and completed by Tuesday. Highly recommend to anyone who is looking for a fair prices and great service.
– Joey E. San Diego, CA