Oftentimes, the most overlooked portion of an HVAC system is the “V” part—the ventilation. We’re not talking about the registers you see on the walls throughout your home, but rather the ductwork behind those vents and registers. We understand why it’s not that popular to consider. After all, most of it is hidden behind walls, in your attic, or in a crawlspace.
But when you live as somewhere as warm as Tampa, you really can’t afford to have ductwork problems. Damaged ductwork hurts your system efficiency and therefore, hurts your wallet. Since it is mostly hidden though, how do you tell if it has damage and needs replacement?
You See Visible Dents or Punctures
We know, we just said that most of your ductwork is hidden from view and it’s hard to spot damage. That’s true, but looking at the parts that are visible is a good place to start when determining if your ductwork needs partial or full replacement, if not at least significant repairs.
Dents and punctures are actually most common where your ductwork is visible, so around the HVAC system itself and in the ceiling of your basement. One way to avoid damage here is to not store anything that leans up against it, and to not touch it if doing any work around it.
If it does become punctured though, depending on how bad the damage is it may be beyond repair, and therefore require replacement.
You Notice Low Cooling Power
This typically means that your ductwork has a leak somewhere. Another possibility is that your system being blocked by something, such as an animal that got in and built a next. It’s not pleasant to think about, but if this does happen oftentimes it can require at least a partial duct replacement.
If you notice low cooling power throughout your entire house, though, it probably isn’t your ductwork to blame but rather a problem with the air conditioner itself. When you feel uneven cooling just in one room or section, then you’re most likely looking at a part of your ductwork that needs to be replaced.
You Notice Poor Airflow
This is similar to low cooling power, but this means low power in general. The air may be cooled, but not flowing through the vents into your home as powerfully as it used to. This could be the result of a portion of your ductwork being disconnected or damaged in some way. The best thing you can do if you notice this is contact our pros for an inspection.
Strange Smells Coming from the Vents
First, if the odor smells acrid or like something is burning, we encourage you to shut off your AC, and give us a call, or call an electrician, right away to ensure you’re not looking at smoldering wires or some other electrical problem.
If it’s more of a musty smell, you may be looking at a mold or mildew infestation. There are preventive measures you can take to avoid this, such as the installation of a UV air purifier as well as a whole-house dehumidifier. But if your ductwork has succumbed to this, you may want to consider duct replacement to protect the health of your family.