Ducts get damaged just like any other portion of your home. In some cases, that can be direct damage, as when rats or squirrels get into the crawlspace and gnaw on the material, or someone inadvertently creates a problem while working on some other part of the house. Other times, it can come from simple wear and tear, such as when two fitted parts lose a bolt and create an opening.
Either way, it’s a significant problem, and with winter here in Frisco, TX, ductwork damage can add up to quite a bit in terms of costs. The loss of efficiency means higher bills and great strain on your heating system: increasing the risk of a breakdown. Your heater will have to work for longer periods of time to get your house warmed up, and a serious breach will pull dust and germs in from your crawlspace and attic: increasing health risks to your family. Worst of all, the problem won’t stop in the spring, resulting in the same issues with your air conditioner it currently inflicts on your heater.
Unfortunately, duct leaks and duct breaches cannot be properly identified and repaired by laymen. In most cases, you won’t even be able to see them – the affected section hidden in the walls or similar crawlspaces – and even if you can, it takes licensing and specific training to conduct repairs. You can’t simply use duct tape: as ironic as it sounds, that’s actually the worst thing you can do, since duct tape rapidly falls apart beneath the constant temperature change the ducts experience. If you decide you need duct repair, you should shut the system off and call a qualified service immediately.
But how can you tell? If the ducts are hidden beneath the floors, above the ceiling or in the walls, how can you spot the signs of trouble? We’ve included a handy list of common signs:
- Reduced Air Flow. Air pulled out of the breach or leak will lower the air flow from affected vents.
- Lowered Heating Levels. If the breach pulls outside air into the duct, it will lower the heat levels of the air emerging from affected ducts (or raise them if the air conditioner is running in the summer).
- Strange Noises. The breach or leak can create whistling or humming sounds. The sounds will originate with the leak or breach, and usually start or stop when you turn your heater on and off.
- Warm Spots. The hot air blowing on the walls or floor will create a warm spot that you can feel in your hand. (In the summer, it will be a cold spot.)
- Higher Bills. If your heating bills suddenly take a spike for no apparent reason, it could mean that the efficiency lost by the breach or leak is taking its toll. This may happen even if the system seems to be functioning as normal.
If you spot the signs of a duct breach, don’t attempt to correct it yourself. Instead, turn your heater off and call in the friendly professionals at Hutchins Plumbing & Air Conditioning today.