The estimates on how much air is lost due to ductwork issues vary (they range anywhere from 25% to 50%). That means you’re probably wasting energy and money. On average, most ducts last up to 15 years. By then, materials such as plastic and fiberglass start to break down, and ducts tend to be damaged more easily. Attic ducts are the most vulnerable; we’ll explain when to replace ductwork in the attic and signs it is deteriorating.
Why Are Attic Ducts So Vulnerable?
An attic isn’t usually sealed or insulated. The temperature here can be 50℉ hotter than outside. And whether the outdoor temperature is hot or cold, your attic will follow the same path. Rising heat also creates issues; the heat that reaches the attic carries moisture that, if not ventilated, can lead to mold. Attic heat can also radiate back through the ceiling, reducing comfort and energy efficiency.
Reasons to Replace Attic Ducts
Your HVAC ductwork carries conditioned air to every room and returns it to the air handler to be cooled again. If it’s in poor condition, your air conditioner cannot work properly. The solution is often only to replace ductwork in the attic. Here are nine reasons to do so:
1. The Ductwork Is Visibly Damaged: Go to the attic and check exposed ducts. If there are multiple tears, gaps, or disconnections, new, fresh ductwork will restore efficient HVAC performance. Duct tape on your ducts means leaks have already been patched and may persist (duct tape is not effective for sealing leaks). Also, replace any ducts that are kinked or tangled.
2. You Can Feel or See a Leak: Put your hand over the duct near connections and joints between sections. If you can feel air coming out, the duct is leaking. You can also hold a smoke pencil or incense stick nearby. If the smoke is blown in one direction, there is air escaping.
3. The System Is Noisy: Rattling sounds can be due to vibration in the HVAC ducts while whistling sounds can come from damaged joints. Air rushing through holes in the ductwork will create noise, so any loud, unusual sounds from the system should be checked out by a professional. It may be an indication that it’s time for ductwork replacement.
4. Uneven Temperatures in Your Home: A central air conditioning system should cool or heat your home evenly. If one room is unusually hot or cold compared to the rest of your house, your ductwork may struggle to deliver air to certain areas. Check each room using a thermometer; if the temperature differences are significant, leaky ductwork should be replaced.
5. Musty Odors Throughout Your Home: Uneven temperatures inside and outside the ductwork can cause moisture to condense, creating a damp environment for mold and mildew to grow. Odors and toxic byproducts are then pushed with the air to vents around your home. The problem can become so widespread it can’t be fixed without replacing ductwork in the attic.
6. Allergies or Asthma: Persistent respiratory problems can mean it’s time to check your attic ductwork. Coughing, sneezing, and other symptoms can mean pollen and dust are building up. Various allergens can affect your health and make asthma worse. Faulty attic ducts should be replaced to improve indoor air quality.
7. Dirt Is Surrounding AC Vents: Dirty air can deposit dust, dirt, lint, hair, and the remains of bugs around vents. These may leave small marks that develop over time and are hard to notice at first. If you see dirt around the vents or need to clean them often, schedule an inspection to determine if duct replacement is needed. Increased dust around your home is also a reason to consider replacing ducts.
8. Your Home Is Infested: Holes and tears in air ducts can let insects and rodents in, where they can find places to shelter and colonize. They can release odors, create noise, and spread germs and diseases. Bugs and critters can also block ductwork, causing airflow, temperature control, and efficiency issues.
9. Higher Energy Bills: At least some air escapes from most ducts. But if more than 20% of the air escapes, your HVAC system will work harder and consume more energy. If you haven’t increased power consumption or installed a large appliance but your energy bills are higher, it could mean your attic ductwork is no longer adequate.
Call Tri County Air to Replace Ductwork in Your Attic
At Tri County Air, we can clean and seal air ducts and insulate attic ductwork. Our licensed HVAC professionals also specialize in duct replacement. We use high-quality products and properly size any ductwork we install to improve comfort, indoor air quality, and energy efficiency. A ductwork inspection lets us find hidden issues and resolve problems like those detailed above. To get started, call (941) 336-6390 or request your appointment online.
At Tri County Air, we can provide solutions that clean the air in your ductwork and improve indoor air quality. The condition and cleanliness of your ductwork are certainly important. But sanitizing is different from cleaning and disinfection. We’ll explain how and why you should consider sanitizing air ducts.
What Is Air Duct Sanitizing?
Air duct cleaning refers to the manual removal of solid matter such as allergens. Dust, dirt, pollen, mold, and other things that clog ducts can increase allergy symptoms and exacerbate respiratory issues such as asthma. Sanitizing involves removing dirt and debris as well as reducing viruses, bacteria, and microorganisms in your ducts. This is especially important if mold is found or vermin have infested your ductwork.
Sanitizing air ducts:
Eliminates mold spores after previous mold growth.
Removes animal scents to prevent further infestation.
Can protect against COVID-19 and other viruses.
Is Sanitizing Needed with Every Duct Cleaning?
Most homes require duct cleaning once every few years. You may consider more frequent cleaning jobs if you have poor indoor air quality, a history of air quality issues at home, or have pets. Nonetheless, it’s not always necessary to sanitize air ducts every time they’re cleaned.
In general, the effects of HVAC sanitizing last about six months. But that doesn’t mean you need your air ducts sanitized that often. Reasons to consider sanitizing air ducts include someone having contracted a contagious disease at home, there’s a leak or water damage in your duct system, or you’re experiencing unpleasant odors from HVAC vents.
Can I Sanitize My Air Ducts Myself?
Not really. If you’re going to clean your ductwork, wear a mask to avoid inhaling dust or debris and safety goggles to prevent particles from getting in your eyes. You can use a vacuum cleaner with an attachment to clean ducts. But a more effective way to sanitize ductwork is to use an ozone generator. For this, you’ll need to close all the vents except one and run the generator’s hose into the open vent. The generator may need to be run for a couple of days and then you’ll need to wipe any mold out from the ducts.
This process requires a significant amount of cleanup. It’s a lot of work, so you’re better off bringing in a professional who is experienced with sanitizing air ducts.
How Is Professional Air Duct Sanitizing Done?
An HVAC contractor may use an antimicrobial disinfectant, which is often delivered via a fogger. Other sanitizers contain botanical ingredients that are non-corrosive. There are also hospital-grade antimicrobial sanitizer sprays that can work in one application. An HVAC technician may also recommend installing a UV sanitizer in your ductwork, which is highly effective at killing living particles and preventing mold. However, it won’t prevent non-organic particles from building up.
Cost of Sanitizing Air Ducts
Some air duct sanitizing products require specialized equipment or the installation of components in your ductwork. The process can take a few hours as well. Therefore, the cost of the service depends on many factors including the specific needs of your home. Consult with a local duct cleaning company to ask about their pricing and receive a quote on the services they recommend.
A certified air duct technician can perform deep cleaning and sanitizing. They can employ methods that minimize the risk of particle contamination. Trained in the latest procedures and safety practices, a trained professional can not only help you consider whether sanitizing air ducts is the best option but will also ensure high-quality results.
Contact Tri County Air Today
Tri County Air provides duct replacement and indoor air quality solutions to address persistent issues. Our air quality products include state-of-the-art in-duct UV light systems and HEPA filters. We can also seal and insulate ductwork to further improve indoor air quality and energy efficiency. A full ductwork inspection lets us determine the best solution, so you get the most out of your HVAC system. Call 941-265-8294 today to schedule an inspection and consultation.
Have you been told that you need to get the ducts cleaned in your home or office? Are you suffering from allergies and looking to increase the quality of the air you breathe? Duct cleaning is often offered as a solution, but rarely helps in the long run. In fact, sometimes it makes the indoor air quality worse.