Your home's ductwork is arguably the most important part of your home's HVAC system, as it works to move hot and cold air throughout the rooms of your house. Damaged or malfunctioning ductwork can thus have a huge effect on the performance and efficiency of your central heating and air conditioning units. Understanding what some of the signs of a malfunctioning ductwork system are can help you figure out when you need to replace your ducts.
Signs of Damage
If you suspect that something is wrong with your air conditioner or furnace, especially if your system is older than a decade, you may want to consider taking a look at the ductwork of your home to inspect for signs of physical damage. Holes and tears in the ducts themselves can allow air to escape before it reaches the rooms in your home, reducing the effectiveness of your unit. Most homes' ductwork can be visually inspected in the crawlspace or attic of your home, but depending on your system, you may be able to see certain sections of your ducts at the top of your closets or in other areas of your home. Watch for obvious signs, like openings in the ductwork, but inspect the connections between sections of ductwork to see if they are properly secured, and keep an eye out for any signs of rust as well.
Increased Energy Bills
Another indicator that your ductwork should be replaced is if you notice that your energy bills have increased noticeably over the past months, even without a change in the temperature within your house or the amount of other appliance usage that you have been doing. This points to some sort of loss of insulation or damage in an area of your ductwork, causing your air conditioner or furnace to work harder and longer to provide the same temperature level within your home. Replacing your ductwork can be the financially smart decision, since these higher energy bills will quickly add up over time.
Finally, if you seriously think that you may have to replace your ducts, you should contact a HVAC repair professional to complete a blower test. This test will force air through your ducts and measure how much air is actually coming out of your vents. Poor air flow will let you know that you need to replace your current ducts as soon as possible to get your central HVAC system working as intended again.