Your air ducts are, by and large, hidden from view, so it can be easy to forget how important they are to your heating and air conditioning systems. However, faulty ducts can be a huge contributor to high energy bills and can also cause unfortunate health problems for you and your family. Find out what specific problems can arise from less than ideal air ducts, and how your local HVAC contractor can help you get things back on the right track.
Your air ducts are the channels through which your heating and cooling systems circulate air throughout your home. Rigid air ducts can be made of a sheet metal frame, which is then insulated. You can also get flexible ductwork, which is typically made of flexible plastic layered over a metal wire coil. Because your ductwork allows air to travel through your home, your air ducts are vital to maintaining your indoor air quality as well as your thermal comfort.
If there's something amiss with your ducts, you may notice that your indoor air quality is not as good as it used to be. This issue can manifest itself via a number of health problems, including frequent headaches, allergies, and various respiratory issues. You may not notice these symptoms at first, but, if they persist or worsen over time, they may well signal a duct problem. If that's the case, you should get a heating and air conditioning contractor to check things out as soon as possible.
If your home energy bills are slowly creeping higher and higher, this can also be a signal that there is an issue with your ducts. If your air ducts are defective or poorly installed, or if they've developed leaks or holes over time, the warm or cool air that flows through them will not all be getting where it needs to go. This means that your central air conditioning system or furnace will have to work harder in order to maintain the set temperature in a given room and that you are wasting energy and money as your ducts leak warm or cool air out before it gets where it's supposed to be.
If you notice increased health or respiratory problems, or if you suspect that your ducts may not be delivering all the air that passes through them, get a professional heating and air conditioning service pro on the job as soon as possible. He or she will be able to assess your ducts and perform a comprehensive analysis of airflow and performance. If there are problems with your ducts, your HVAC pro can make the necessary repairs or replacements. Then, he or she will be able to re-test the system to make sure that the airflow and the efficiency of your heating and cooling system are as high as possible.
If you think that the indoor air quality of your home is below where it should be, or if you notice heating and cooling bills that are slowly creeping higher, it's worth your while to make sure that your air ducts are up to snuff. Call your local HVAC professional for an expert analysis of your system, and to get any necessary repairs so that the flow of air in your home can get back to where it should be.