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) 485-2222 or request your appointment online.