Whether you’re performing a long-term maintenance routine in your own home or are in the market for a brand-new residence, having ducts thoroughly inspected must be included on your to-do list. Ducts are passages used in air conditioning, heating and ventilation to deliver and exhaust air, making them a critical component of indoor air quality and overall home comfort. The ductwork system, together with the furnace and air conditioner, shouldn’t be overlooked; letting ducts operate while in bad shape will bring about persistent, costly issues in the future.
In this article, one of the leading HVAC installation companies in Ohio shares three important things to look for in ducting when purchasing a home and discusses its effect on long-term maintenance.
What Should You Look for in a Ductwork System?
Searching for a new house is exciting, but it can be an exceptionally time-consuming and stressful process. There are a lot of momentous factors to consider when hunting down the ideal living space, such as its location, square footage, neighborhood and price. It’s no wonder that specific details, like the ductwork system, are often left unnoticed. Here are a few things you should pay attention to when inspecting the ducts in a potential home.
Age & Condition
Unlike the furnace or condenser, the ducting doesn’t typically come with a stamp that allows homeowners to keep track of its age. If the original ducting, however, has been present since the house was first built, then its age can be traced back to the construction date of the home. If this isn’t the case and the documents that detail past upgrades aren’t on hand, the age of the ducting can be determined by its current condition.
A ductwork system, in general, lasts for about a decade. According to heating and air conditioning maintenance companies, once that time period has passed, you can expect sagging, cracking and even detachment at the joints. The presence of cracks and disconnected joints is concerning, as these issues allow debris from the attic to be distributed throughout the home as well as allow conditioned air to escape through the attic or interior walls, which ultimately leads to poor, inefficient air circulation. If a certified technician notices these problems occurring, they’ll recommend repairing or replacing the ductwork sooner rather than later.
It’s a good practice to have the ductwork cleaned, inspected and maintained on a regular basis. This helps homeowners maximize the service life of their ducts and, in consequence, take full advantage of the efficiency and performance of their heating and air conditioning devices. The problem is, this isn’t possible for some homes due to lack of access. For example, in many multi-family buildings, like apartments, townhomes and condominiums, the ductwork is located within the walls. This makes them tremendously difficult to examine, let alone replace. It also prevents buyers from determining the condition of the ductwork before purchasing the home.
There are homes wherein the ducting is accessible but located in a small attic space. In a similar fashion, restricted spaces make access and service strenuous for HVAC repair contractors, potentially leading to higher labor costs. Ducting installed in a fair-sized attic space is the most ideal situation for technicians and homeowners alike.
When on the lookout for a house, one of the most important things to check for in the ductwork system is the use of asbestos. Asbestos is a mineral that was widely used in the construction of buildings in the past. A lot of homes built from the 1950s to 1980s were assembled with ducts containing asbestos. The thing is, asbestos has since been determined to be hazardous. Long-term inhalation of asbestos increases the risk of diseases that can lead to impaired respiratory function and even death. If asbestos ducting is present in a potential home, you’ll need to factor in the costs of removal and replacement in order to create a safe living environment.
What Are the Benefits of Regular Duct Inspections?
While it’s quite easy to forget the importance of duct maintenance, checking the condition of the ductwork periodically can offer numerous benefits. Here are the main reasons you should schedule ductwork cleaning and inspection at least once every three to five years.
Well-maintained ductwork helps improve indoor air quality.
Over the years, dust, dirt and other debris can collect inside the ducts and end up lingering in the heated or cooled air that’s circulated throughout the house. When your furnace or air conditioner cycles on, this buildup of filth blows into the living space, contaminating the indoor air.
Some common pollutants that take refuge in the ducts are lead, soot, dust mites, insects, spores, dander and other allergens. When inhaled, these substances can cause serious health problems in residents, like asthma attacks, allergies and respiratory complications. HVAC installation companies recommend scheduling a duct-cleaning service in order to get rid of these nasty pollutants and keep the quality of your indoor air pristine.
Well-maintained ductwork helps remove unpleasant odors.
In a typical home, there are a lot of things that can contribute to stale or funky smells in the air ducts, such as pets, tobacco smoke, cleaning agents, paint fumes, mold and even cooking. Much like debris, odors from these items or substances will repeatedly flow into every corner of the house when the furnace or air conditioner unit runs. Even the accumulation of dust and dirt over the years can produce stale, moldy smells coming from the ducts. People who smell these strong odors may get headaches or feel nauseous. Thankfully, a thorough cleaning of the ductwork system will remove all odor-trapping particles, resulting in a fresher, healthier living environment.
Well-maintained ductwork helps boost airflow efficiency.
As your HVAC system attempts to distribute air throughout your house, a heavy buildup of dust and grime in the ductwork and registers can obstruct the free flow of air, say HVAC repair experts. This means your furnace or air conditioner will have to work harder than before to deliver the needed heating or cooling in the home, resulting in a notable decrease of efficiency. Removing these obstructions allows treated air to circulate freely through the system and reduces the chances of damaging your HVAC equipment due to excessive stress. In a nutshell, clean well-maintained air ducts will provide the most cost-effective performance.
Well-maintained ductwork helps increase energy savings.
If left unchecked, ducts will begin to break down and deteriorate over time. From sagging to disconnected joints, cracks and leaks, there are plenty of problems that can arise and cause you to lose the air you need to heat or cool your home. These issues will also push your HVAC equipment to work harder, causing further wear and tear on the system. All of these contributing factors can cause your utility bills to skyrocket. To prevent this from happening, call in a reputable HVAC contractor to conduct thorough inspections, cleaning and repairs. A sealed duct system will reduce energy consumption and help you save on energy bills.
Contact Us for All Your Duct Inspection & Maintenance Needs
Keep your day-to-day experience at home safe, comfortable and efficient with quality heating and cooling solutions, including duct inspections and maintenance. Turn to Cafco Services, one of the premier heating and air conditioning maintenance companies in Cincinnati, OH. Our top-rated technicians are committed to meeting the unique needs of every residential client through industry-leading products and outstanding customer service. Call us today at (513) 242-3400 or fill out our contact form to set up an appointment.