While you may not think about your air ducts when it comes time to clean your home, they should be front and center in your home maintenance schedule. Air ducts can harbor dust, dirt, mold, mildew, and moisture if they are not regularly cleaned and maintained. To avoid this, have your ducts cleaned annually by a qualified company. It is important to leave this job to the professionals, as attempting to clean your ducts on your own can be dangerous.
Because air ducts are located behind walls, in the attic, or beneath the floors in your home, it can be hard to physically access them to locate any problems. If you notice any of the following signs in your home, we recommend calling a professional to have your ducts evaluated. At Chas Roberts, we inspect the ducts of a system as part of our comprehensive 26-point maintenance plan.
When your HVAC system turns on or off, you may hear a banging or popping noise. These noises are completely normal–however, if the noise continues the entire time that your system is running, faulty ducts may be to blame. Undersized or poorly fitted ducts can also cause a whistling noise due to the air that escapes from the vents.
If you find yourself dusting all the time, your air ducts might be the cause. Ducts that are filled with dirt and dust will eventually transfer these contaminants into the home. Since high levels of dust in the home can exacerbate conditions like asthma and allergies, it’s a good idea to have your ducts inspected and see if they’re behind your dust woes.
In the Phoenix area, the last thing you expect from your home is high humidity. However, faulty ducts can allow moisture from the outdoor elements into your home’s duct system. This results in your home feeling stuffy and humid. If you notice that one or more rooms in your home feels more humid than usual, it may be a sign that your ducts need to be repaired.
Dusty or dirty smells can result from leaky ducts allowing dust to flow throughout the system. While unpleasant, these dusty smells can cause respiratory irritation as well. On the other hand, a strong musty or moldy odor throughout your home could indicate that there’s mold present in your air ducts. Mold and mildew develop in HVAC systems for two primary reasons: the presence of moisture, and the presence of nourishment that enables the mold to grow. The moisture comes from the condensation present in air ducts. When your home is warm, water vapors can form and collect in air ducts as cold air makes its way through them. If high levels of humidity are present, the water will remain instead of evaporating—creating a breeding ground for mold.
With enough water present in the air ducts, outside particles such as dust can settle in the water. The combination of organic and inorganic materials provides mold and mildew the necessary nourishment it needs to grow, multiply, and travel throughout the duct system.
To prevent the growth of mold and mildew, it’s important to target the environment where these substances often thrive—your air ducts. A thorough duct cleaning may take several hours, but the benefits make it well worth it. Not only will this cleaning remove any dust, dirt, and debris that could impact how well your ducts circulate air in your home, but it will also remove any visible traces of mold and mildew that are present. A duct cleaning will also make your ducts an environment where mold cannot easily grow in the first place, reducing the risk of spores developing and spreading.
If you find that the air in your home is stuffy or never cools down, cool air may be escaping from your ducts. Dirty or leaking ducts can impact the heating and cooling of your home by allowing filtered air to leak out before it reaches the room. Over time, the ducts in your home can develop cracks, holes, or tears. In addition, many homes are fitted with incorrectly sized ducts, which can cause problems such as uneven air flow.
Leaking or dirty ducts can compromise the efficiency of your HVAC system. Leaks allow cooled or heated air to escape before it reaches your home, and also allow outside air to enter unopposed. This can lower indoor air quality and keep your home from reaching its desired temperature. Plus, you’ll end up paying for it in a major way—leaks, cracks, and poorly installed ducts can increase your annual cooling and heating costs by hundreds of dollars.
Nothing lasts forever, and that includes your ductwork. More than likely, your current ductwork was installed at the same time as your HVAC system. The average lifespan of an HVAC system in Arizona is between 9-12 years, thanks to our harsh desert climate. If your system is getting a little long in the tooth, it might be time to start considering a replacement and an upgrade to both the system itself and your home’s ductwork.
Newer HVAC units are exceptionally energy-efficient, particularly those with high seasonal energy efficiency ratios, or SEER. Many utility companies and government agencies offer tax credits and rebates that serve as incentives for homeowners to switch from their old systems to more energy-efficient models. Replacing your old HVAC system with an energy-efficient one is a great way to save on your energy bills while also helping the environment.
Your new system will include new or updated ductwork as well. Your new ducts should be sealed, insulated, and designed to minimize heat loss. Newer systems counter heat loss by installing ducts in conditioned parts of the home, such as in dropped ceilings or the corners of rooms. If there’s a room in your home that’s exceptionally difficult to heat or cool, additional supply ducts or grilles can be added to facilitate airflow. With a new system and new ductwork, your house will be set to its highest efficiency yet.
From inspecting ducts to installing new HVAC systems, there’s no problem our expert technicians can’t solve. Contact us for all your heating, cooling, and home energy efficiency needs.