It’s easy to take your home or business’s ductwork for granted, even forgetting to clean or maintain it due to its discreet nature. In reality, your heating system’s ductwork can suffer from age or corrosion, potentially due to being improperly installed in the first place. Not only can this affect your comfort, but a damaged ducted heating system can even pose a risk to your family in the form of contaminated air or carbon monoxide poisoning. To keep your family safe and comfortable, any signs of damage need to be addressed immediately.
Some warning signs that your ducted heating system needs repairs include:
- Hot or cold spots: If your ductwork is broken, you will notice uneven heating or cooling throughout your home. This might include cold spots even when your heater is running, or toasty rooms when your air conditioner is supposed to be cooling the house down. Try placing your hand in front of a duct to feel whether the air is at the correct temperature.
- Strange noises: The occasional popping noise is normal, as the ducts will expand and contract due to the changing temperature. However, if you hear a consistent rattling or shaking noise, the ducts are likely damaged or loose and will therefore need repair work.
- Higher energy bills: If your ducted heating system is damaged, it’ll have to work harder to heat your home, using up more energy. If you notice your energy bill is significantly higher than it should be, there is likely a problem with your ducted heating system.
- Build-up of dust or mould: If your air quality feels poor, your allergies are being triggered or you have any other reason to suspect that there’s a build-up of dust or mould within your system, it’s imperative that you contact a HVAC professional to clean your system. Allowing this problem to worsen will mean ineffective heating, increased energy bills and poor air quality. No matter how clean you keep your home, dirty ducts will still distribute contaminants throughout your home.
- Pests: When cleaning your ducted heating system or ducts, you might notice evidence of mice droppings or another vermin activity. You might also be able to smell them (or worse, their droppings!), as vermin tend to be drawn to the warmth of your heating system. Even if you only see one pest or suspect that pests might be living in your vents, contact a pest control specialist immediately. The presence of pests can result in contaminated air being distributed through your home, or the critters might nibble through the wiring and cause extensive damage to your ducted heating.
- Foul smell: A foul smell wafting through your home is the quickest way to ruin your comfort, and is also an indication that your ducted heating system needs repairs. A mouldy smell could indicate the presence of mildew, often caused by condensation that has gathered along the ducts. Contact a HVAC professional immediately to ensure the rest of your system is not damaged and that contaminated air is not being spread throughout home. If you notice a stuffy or chemical smell, seek immediate help from a HVAC professional, as this could indicate a gas leak.
- Weak air flow: Are you finding yourself having to turn your heat up higher than usual to get the same effect? This indicates that your ducted heating system is not performing as it should – contact a professional to ensure you can enjoy the full benefit of your ducted heating system.
- Hot walls or surfaces: Your ducted heating is meant to warm up your body: not your home. If your walls or other household surfaces feel hot to the touch or you notice signs of heat damage, your ducted heating system is likely out of order.
- Old age: All HVAC systems will need an update after some time. If you have been using your heater for 20 years or more, you might even be in need of a complete replacement. Annual maintenance is recommended for all HVAC systems, so have yours checked out just in case, but especially if it is old.
In some of the above cases, your ducted heating system might just need a quick clean. However, many of the above situations could present a greater risk, such as a system breakdown, contaminated air that could affect your respiratory health, or carbon monoxide leaks. If you notice any of the above issues with your ducted heating system, it’s well worth contacting a reputable heating company for prompt repairs.