Many homeowners prefer the ease and luxury of forced-air heating and cooling. Like any major system, you need to keep your HVAC system well-maintained and cleaned to ensure efficiency. But forced-air systems use a series of ducts that are often neglected by homeowners during regular maintenance. If you haven't had your ducts checked in a while, you may start to notice these four signs.
1. The House Isn't Getting as Cool/Warm as You Want
Forced-air heating and cooling systems are so desired because they can usually heat or cool your home quickly and effectively. One glaring sign something is wrong with your system is it simply isn't as effective at cooling or heating as it used to be.
Many problems can cause the system to not function as well, such as a dirty filter, dirty coils, low refrigerant levels, slow fans, etc. If your system seems to be in good condition, however, the problem may be the ducts.
Your ducts may simply be dirty, but in many cases, reduced heating/cooling efficiency is caused by holes and gaps in the ducts, which allow heated/cooled air to escape. To correct this problem, a professional can repair any damage and reattach any detached duct segments.
2. Your Heating and Cooling Bills Are Rising
Even if you can get your home as warm or as cool as you'd like, you may be spending a fortune to do so. Rising heating and cooling bills usually indicate something is wrong with the system. This problem can also be caused by holes in the ducts. In order to replace the lost air, you'll have to turn up or down the thermostat, which means more energy and money.
Another reason energy bills may be rising is dirty ducts. Dust and various bits of debris, such as animal hair, can get inside the ducts. If too much debris gets in the ducts, it may reduce airflow because the pathway is narrowed. Again, this causes you to use more energy to keep your home comfortable.
3. The Indoor Air Quality Has Dropped
Dust can also affect your indoor air quality. If a lot of the dust, allergens, pollen, pet hair, or other debris remains in the ducts, some is expelled into the living space each time the system is used. This can cause red and itchy eyes, sneezing, and coughing. If you have allergies or breathing problems, it may cause asthma attacks, rashes, or breathing complications.
In rare situations, if you have a rodent infestation in your ducts, the rodents may also cause chemicals and odors from droppings to affect your breathing air. Lastly, if you have mold in your ducts, it can lead to nasal stuffiness, throat irritation, and eye irritation. You must get the ducts cleaned to remove the dust, identify any pests, and clean any mold.
4. The System Keeps Breaking Down
The last sign that may indicate a problem with your ducts is frequent breakdowns. If you've been maintaining your system but breakdowns are still frequent, check the ducts. Dirty ducts can put extra strain on the system, causing it to wear down sooner so it needs more frequent repairs and early replacement.
This happens because the system doesn't realize the ducts are narrowed from dust. Therefore, it continues to push the same amount of air through the ducts. With less space, however, the system is forced to push harder to expel the air, which not only increases costs, but also increases wear and tear on the system.
Ducts can cause many problems in forced-air heating and cooling systems, so you must remember to keep them well-maintained. Dust and gaps can cause the system to work less efficiently and effectively, which costs you more money. For more information about ducts and repairs, contact us at Parks Davis Air Conditioning & Heating today.