Signs the Air Ducts Need Replacing

The Ins and Outs of Air Duct Replacement

Most homeowners probably don't give much thought to their home's air duct system. It's designed to stay out of sight and out of mind - if it's doing its job, they shouldn't have to think of it at all. But even if problems start developing, the symptoms can be so subtle at first that they may not even notice until the damage gets way out of hand. 

The problems created by old or malfunctioning ductwork can impact not only the wallet and the HVAC system's lifespan, but also the health of those in the home. 

Effects of Aging Ductwork

aging duct tape

Unless a home has undergone a remodel or the HVAC system has been overhauled in the recent past, there's a good chance they still have the same ductwork their house was built with. With an older home, especially if it was built more than two or three decades ago, that can mean they've got some dangerously outdated and worn-out equipment

Over time, ductwork suffers from normal wear and tear - intense vibration from the HVAC unit, expansion, and contraction due to temperature changes, air pressure stress, etc. Eventually, joints and seams weaken and split apart, which means loss of pressure and a lot of air uselessly vanishing outside the home's insulated envelope.

It also means dust and debris can bypass the intake filter and enter vents unhindered in a way that even routine cleaning won't be able to fix. In addition, the whole HVAC system will have to work harder than it should to keep the home at the desired temperature, which can dramatically shorten its lifespan.

An Increase in Utility Costs
coins close to the toy house

If the ducts are leaky or clogged with decades of dust, the HVAC unit will suffer a loss in efficiency, which will not only put undue stress on the motor and other components but drive up the utility bill as well. The signs of aging ductwork can be hard to detect, but a mysterious spike in electricity usage (or gas usage, if the home employs a gas furnace in the cold months) can serve as an indicator that they have a duct problem.

Along these lines, if the unit seems to run perpetually without ever shutting off, it's likely because ducts are damaged or blocked. Similarly, if vents are blowing warm air when the AC is on, or cool air when the heater is on, there's a good chance it's due to old, dysfunctional ductwork. Airtight ductwork means an efficient HVAC system, which means low utility costs - so keep a close watch for these symptoms before the bills stack up.

A Decline in Indoor Air Quality

man crossing his arms

While keeping money from going out the window and maintaining an HVAC unit's longevity is important, nothing matters more than the well-being of those in the home. Aging, damaged ductwork can negatively impact the home's indoor air quality and pose serious health risks if left unaddressed for too long. 

As air flows through, leaky air ducts slowly take on dust, dirt, pet dander, and even insulation materials from the space around them. Even without the help of split seams or busted seals, old ductwork can develop a heavy build-up of such particulate matter over time. 

During those humid summer months, mold and mildew can grow in old air ducts and vents, especially if they are very dirty. The presence of these pollutants severely lowers the quality of indoor air, particularly if leaky ducts are impeding the airflow necessary to expel them from the home. 

Poor indoor air quality can lead to irritation of the eyes or sinuses, allergic reactions, and even serious respiratory problems. For homeowners unsure when their ductwork was installed, or those noticing any of the signs mentioned above, it may be time to contact a reputable local HVAC professional and schedule an inspection.

About PAC Plumbing, Heating, Air Conditioning

PAC Plumbing, Heating, Air Conditioning has been proudly serving Staten Island, New York since 1979. They are committed to professionalism and transparency, with a focus on clear communication and personalized service. They offer up-front pricing, financing, a generous loyalty program, and air duct repair services in Staten Island.