Most homeowners don't think about their air ducts very often. Like any other part of an HVAC system, damaged ductwork sometimes needs to be replaced. The health of your ducts is definitely worth looking into; ENERGY STAR reports that the typical home loses 20 to 30 percent of the air circulated through its ducts due to damage like holes and loose connections.
If you're struggling to keep your whole house at the same temperature or you have noticed an unexplained rise in your energy bill, duct damage may be to blame. Here's a guide to two common causes of air duct damage that could warrant air duct replacement.
1. Hidden Leaks
Aluminum is one of the most popular materials for HVAC ductwork because it is durable, affordable, and easy to shape, but it is not without downsides. Corrosion is one possibility you should be aware of if you have any type of metal ductwork. For corrosion to take hold in your ducts, they must first come in contact with moisture.
Since residential ductwork is mostly hidden behind the walls, rusted ducts usually indicate a failure somewhere in the home's structure or insulation. For example, a roof leak or plumbing leak could contribute to corrosion by regularly exposing your ducts to precipitation. Call for a plumbing inspection if you notice any signs of a hidden plumbing leak, such as the sound of running or dripping water behind your walls.
2. Imbalanced Air Pressure
Your furnace blower must overcome a certain amount of air resistance to move air through your ductwork. This force that works against your HVAC system is called static pressure. Static pressure is tightly controlled in an ideal duct system. Problems such as clogged coils, filters, or return ducts can increase static pressure beyond the level your furnace blower can handle efficiently.
High static pressure takes a toll on your ductwork over time. Excessive air pressure can stress the joints and connections in your ductwork and create holes or gaps between sections. When you have static pressure problems, you may hear banging and creaking noises from your ducts when you use your HVAC system. Technicians can solve static pressure issues by cleaning and unclogging the system or adding additional branches and return ducts when necessary.
These are the two primary causes of air duct damage in residential HVAC systems. If you're looking to enhance the efficiency of your HVAC system, consider a professional duct inspection to rule out these issues in your home.