Do You Know What’s In Your Ductwork?

Your HVAC system and ductwork have a partnership. The unit provides warmed or cooled air, and the ducts carry it throughout your home. But when one needs attention, it limits the performance of the other.

For ordinary ductwork care, routine cleaning and vacuuming should do the trick. And a local Austin company for AC installation can assist if you have damage that needs repair, or if your old network of ducts need to be replaced or upgraded.

Senior man opening air conditioning filter in ceiling

Watch for Pests, Dust and Debris

In a perfect world, a completely sealed system of ductwork sends filtered air out the registers and into the rooms. Air doesn’t flow backward through the ducts. But homes are rarely perfect.

If rodents make their way into attics, crawl spaces, and between floors where the ducts normally run, their chewing could help them gain access. On rigid ductwork, that’s not usually a concern. But where flexible ducts are used, it could be a problem.

Any place where the ducts aren’t sealed, such as at a loose fitting or a spot where a rodent has torn through, dust and debris can enter the ductwork. Then when the HVAC unit switches on, dust and debris can enter your home through the registers.

With floor registers, it’s much more common to have visible dirt inside. This can be caused by sweeping and vacuuming, or from dust settling in the house. If you see debris inside ceiling registers, there might be a bigger problem that requires attention. For example, visible loose insulation around the register could mean there’s a fitting that’s loose or damaged.

Change the System Filter Monthly

One of the best things you can do for your HVAC unit and your ductwork is changing filters regularly. Some units require a new filter every month, but some won’t need a new one that often. This is just a guideline.

Homes located in dustier areas, homes that have pets, and those where allergy sufferers live might need more frequent filter changes. Remember, a filter that looks clean might not be clean at all. Pollen, dust, and other particles can settle deep into the filter where you can’t see them.

A dirty filter is bad for at least two reasons. First, the HVAC unit will pull dirty air through the filter and then send the same through the ductwork and into the rooms. Second, dirty air can cause long-term damage to the unit, shortening its lifespan.

Clean Ductwork Registers

Cleaning heater vent withVacuum

Cleaning registers is fairly simple. You can wipe down the register cover every time you dust. And on days when you clean more deeply, popping off the cover lets you wipe underneath.

Vacuuming registers lets you reach deeper inside to pull out more debris. If you have a long hose vacuum attachment, you can vacuum at least 12 to 24 inches inside.

Occasionally, take the register covers to a sink and clean them more thoroughly. You might be surprised by how much dirt can accumulate on the surface. Just be sure to dry them afterward to prevent rust.

Your ductwork is a critical part of your home’s heat and air conditioning system. Although you can’t access most of it, you can help keep it cleaner. If you suspect there’s damage that you can’t access, it’s time to call a professional to evaluate the situation. A hole or gap can let dirt in, but it can also let heated or cooled air escape, reducing the efficiency of your HVAC unit and raising your heating and cooling bills.

One service call for ductwork repair, where necessary, could be worth the investment. And regular maintenance through cleaning and dusting can help protect your heating and cooling unit, allowing it to serve you well for years to come.

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