Even though you may often overlook the ductwork in your home, the smooth running of your HVAC system is contingent on the ductwork’s efficiency. It is the delivery system for conditioned air around your home and needs to be up to scratch for optimal performance. Repairing ducting that is in poor condition is put off by many homeowners to save on the costs of these repairs. But in the long term, you are likely to end up losing more money due to the decreased efficiency of your sys- tem. If you have problems with your HVAC, there are certain indicators that can give you a good idea whether the ducting is the source. TEMPERATURE FLUCTUATIONS Since the main aim of your HVAC system is to achieve a stable and comfortable temperature throughout your home, a major indicator that there’s a problem with your ducts is if there is an uneven temperature between rooms. If you feel that one or two rooms are at a different tempera- ture or humidity level than the rest of the property, use thermometers to test the temperature difference, taking into account other factors such as open windows.
Temperature fluctuations can indicate that there is either an issue with the installation of the ductwork itself or a leak some- where. This can cause the loss of conditioned air and pressure disturbances, which means your system is still at work, yet produc- ing little to no results.
NOISY DUCTWORK When you first activate or deac- tivate the system, it will make some noises. Particularly with rec- tangular shaped ducting, the nois- es are a result of the metal sheet- ing that the ducting is composed of expanding and contracting, and this is completely normal. If, however, the noises are con- tinuous or occur randomly whilst the system is on, then there is a cause for concern as it’s a sign that the system has pressure dis- turbances, bad installation, is mal- functioning or has a significant blockage. Whistling sounds are also a common sign that there’s a prob- lem with the ducts and this can indicate a leak, or that the vent covers are too small for the sys- tem to handle. It could also be that dust buildup within the vent covers is blocking air flow.
DECREASED AIR FLOW The simplest way to test your ducting is to check the airflow of your vents yourself. Use your hands to feel the airflow coming out of the vents in multiple rooms and you may notice a difference. One or more of the rooms may have a weaker airflow than the others, and this is a sure indica- tion of a problem. Leaks, inade- quate insulation, loose joints or bad sealing can all lead to
by Dave Miller
Identify Problems with Ductwork
photo © Susan Leggett