Your Air Duct Guide

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If you have a forced-air heating and cooling system, you have ducts running throughout your home. Just like the HVAC system, these air ducts need regular maintenance and occasional replacement. If you would like to know more, keep reading.

What Are Air Ducts?

Air ducts are metal pathways used by your HVAC system to deliver heated and cooled air to the various registers in the house. If you look in your attic, basement, or garage, you may see some, but most are hiding in walls and ceilings, making it hard to spot issues. Air ducts are used with central air-conditioning, traditional gas/electric/oil furnaces, and heat pumps.

In many cases, the only way you can spot an issue with the air ducts is by checking your utility bills. If your energy bills keep rising without explanation, you may have a bad leak or multiple leaks in the vents. However, many people don't know anything is wrong until they get a professional inspection.

Why Do Ducts Need to Be Replaced vs. Repair?

If you accidentally hammer a nail into a duct, or the duct separates from wear and tear, a good repair will get the job done. However, if your ducts are severely damaged and/or old, a total replacement may be a better choice. Similarly, if the ducts have been taken over by rust, it's time to replace them.

Mold and pest droppings can cause unpleasant odors, but a good cleaning may get the job done, saving you from the cost of total replacement. In some cases, an ineffective system simply needs a good cleaning to remove the debris and widen the vents. Finally, if the air inside the vents gains or loses heat, adding insulation around the vents could help.

What If You Don't Have Air Ducts?

If you don't already have air ducts, but you want a system that relies on them, you can have some installed. The process can be invasive, but once installed, you won't need to worry about new vents. Even if you get a new furnace or air-conditioner, the new system works with the old vents. This is the only way to get a forced-air system, which is the fastest and most effective way to heat and cool your home.

In some cases, older homes may not have enough space for air ducts. If this is the case, you can ask about a mini-split system. These systems are more expensive to install, but they don't depend on vents.  

Air ducts are essential for an effective forced-air HVAC system. With good maintenance and care, they help keep your system effective and efficient. If you would like to know more or you want a quote on an air duct installation, contact an HVAC technician in your area today.