4 Common Ductwork Problems


Most of us underestimate the significance of the ductwork in our homes. We assume everything’s working properly if we can feel air coming through the vents. Even in cases where we do notice a problem, many of us would assume that the problem relates to a faulty furnace or air conditioner, and not necessarily the ductwork.

However, ductwork can deteriorate and become damaged over time, or it may have been improperly installed in the first place.

These two factors can have a serious effect on how efficiently your HVAC system operates. When ducts have bad connections, leaks, or gaps, they may allow contaminants to enter your home, consequently impacting your health.

Ductwork problems add extra strain on the entire HVAC system and also increase energy consumption. Below are four of the most common ductwork problems that homeowners may experience.

Leaking Ducts

Leaking ducts will cause the entire HVAC system to lose air pressure, resulting in decreased efficiency. Leaking ducts are usually caused by gaps in connections, holes, and the deterioration of the adhesive initially used to seal the ducts.

Leaks make it considerably harder for air to move from the air conditioner or heater to the vents. 

Most problems occurring in a ventilation system are caused by leaks. While many homeowners will try to fix these leaks themselves by applying traditional duct tape, this is usually not the correct repair to make. It’s best to have the ventilation system inspected and repaired by a qualified HVAC technician to ensure that it’s done properly and to code.

Dirty Air Filter

Before air is warmed or cooled by the HVAC system, it is pulled through a return vent and filtered. The filter traps dirt, dust, allergens, and other pollutants and prevents them from flowing through the home’s ventilation system. If the filter is not changed or cleaned regularly it will become clogged. 

This causes the HVAC system to work harder and run longer to heat or cool the air. Dirty air filters reduce comfort in the home, circulate unhealthy air, and are responsible for higher energy costs. A qualified technician can recommend and install the best air filters for your system.

Strange Noises

As the air flows through the ventilation system, the ducts will contract and expand from the change in temperature and pressure.

Don’t worry — slight popping noises are perfectly normal. However, if you start hearing constant shaking or rattling noises, you may have a damaged or loose duct that needs to be repaired or replaced.

Lack of Insulation  

Many homes lack insulation surrounding the ductwork, which can cost hundreds of dollars per year. This is because ducts can radiate their heated or cooled air into uninsulated spaces on their way through the house.

Contact your local HVAC technician to assist in the insulating and sealing of the ducts in your home. 

Problems in your home’s ductwork could be impacting both your health and your wallet. A qualified technician should periodically inspect all the components of your HVAC system to assess and remedy any current and potential problems.


Photo credit: 

AC Today New Duct Work by Daniel Kinnetz is licensed under CC2.0

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is a husband, father, martial artist, budget-master, Disney-addict, musician, and recovering foodie having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Whole Foods Market. Click to learn more about me

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