duct problems

A staggering 1,081 kWh per month – that’s how much electricity the average home in Florida uses. That’s nearly 20% higher than the nationwide average! And if you’re in Lakewood, FL, you likely pay ¢10.58 per kWh.

While that’s less than the U.S. average, it still translates to nearly $115 a month, or $1,380 a year.

Your HVAC system, in turn, is the top driver behind that high electricity usage.

Unfortunately, air duct problems can further increase your energy bills. Worse, they can cause poor indoor air quality (IAQ).

Fortunately, minor problems with ductwork are fixable with DIY strategies. You only need to be proactive in finding and addressing them.

We’ll give you a head start by teaching you the most common HVAC ductwork woes and how to fix them, so read on.

Duct Leaks

Duct leaks occur when conditioned air escapes the ductwork. This leakage often happens via gaps, cracks, seams, and holes in the metal ducts. As a result, the conditioned air goes to waste rather than cooling or heating a room or space.

The Symptoms

Duct leaks can cause hot and cold spots throughout your abode. They can also lead to your home having stuffy areas. And because they waste conditioned air, they can raise your heating and cooling bills.

Leaky ducts also place unnecessary strain on your HVAC system. For example, if they leak 20% of conditioned air, they can force the HVAC system to work 50% harder. This can result in your system experiencing premature breakdowns and frequent repairs.

The Fix

First, find possible leaks, which often occur around ductwork connections and joints. Loose joints, holes, and tears in duct insulation can all leak conditioned air. Unsealed joints likely experience some leakage, too.

Once you’ve discovered these problem areas, the next step is to patch and seal them. For small holes and tears, you can use high-quality HVAC tape. You can also use duct sealant, a thick, paint-like substance you can buy from hardware stores.

However, if you have extensive duct leakage, your best bet is to contact an air duct repair expert. Do the same if you can’t find the leaks but experience their symptoms. Pros can quickly locate and fix leaks using the latest HVAC technology and equipment.

Damaged Duct Insulation

Poorly insulated ducts can result in duct leakage, too. Therefore, they also contribute to higher heating and cooling bills. These, plus other duct leaks, can make your HVAC bills cost hundreds of dollars more each year.

Damaged insulation, which can be holes, tears, or water saturation, has a similar effect.

The Symptoms

Damaged duct insulation can cause the same symptoms as duct leaks. However, they can also become wet, which can happen due to high humidity levels.

Excessive condensation can also lead to wet insulation. You may first see this as water droplets on uninsulated duct sections. From there, the droplets can drip into the areas with insulation, saturating them.

You may also notice missing sections in your duct insulation. This indicates a potential rodent infestation.

Mice and rats can make nests out of insulation materials. So, if you also hear odd sounds (e.g., squeaking or scratching) from your ducts, they may be a sign you have pests in there.

The Fix

As with minor duct leaks, you can use HVAC tape or sealant to fix small holes and tears on duct insulation.

However, if the insulation is wet, it may already require replacement. In this case, consider contacting a licensed HVAC professional in Lakeland, FL. This way, they can determine and fix the root cause of the excessive condensation.

If you suspect rodents live in your ducts, please call a pest control company ASAP. Then, have an HVAC company clean and sanitize your ducts.

Mold Growth

Moisture is one of the most crucial factors that promote mold growth.

As mentioned above, moisture can affect your ductwork and insulation through condensation. When mold spores land on them, it won’t take long for them to colonize.

The Symptoms

The most telling sign of molds in ducts or insulation is an unpleasant, earthy, or musty odor. You may notice this when you breathe in conditioned air.

Health symptoms like nasal congestion, coughing, and sneezing may also occur. Mold exposure can also trigger eye and skin irritation, allergies, and asthma. Folks with mold allergies (about 10% of people in the U.S.) are particularly at risk of these symptoms.

The Fix

Cleaning your air ducts is the best way to remove molds growing inside these conduits. You can hire a local HVAC technician to perform this job and even sanitize your ducts. Sanitizing is especially helpful as it can kill molds and their spores.

For moldy duct insulation, the best move is to get it replaced by an HVAC professional.

Significant Dirt and Debris Build-Up

Over time, the ductwork in your Lakeland home can accumulate particles. These include dander, dust, dirt, debris, mold spores, and pollen.

Those particles can enter your ducts through the air your HVAC system circulates. Air filters help trap some of them, but not all, depending on their MERV rating or efficiency.

The Symptoms

Particle build-up can cause similar symptoms as moldy ducts or insulation. Another indication is that your air filters keep developing clogs faster. Weak airflow from your HVAC system also signals filthy ductwork.

The Fix

As with moldy ducts or insulation, the best way to address filthy ductwork is to have it cleaned by a pro.

However, you should also consider scheduling your entire HVAC system for maintenance. Its interior components may have also formed thick layers of debris and residue. Having it inspected and tuned up can help make it perform well and efficient again.

Resolve Your Duct Problems ASAP

From leaks to damages, mold growth, and filth build-up, all these are common air duct problems. Fortunately, they don’t always require costly repairs, provided you address them immediately. Doing so prevents them from causing more severe ductwork issues or HVAC failure.

Most importantly, having clean, working ducts can help keep your IAQ optimal.

If you still need help after trying the DIY tips above, Mission Air Services can help. Our expert technicians in Lakeland, FL, can resolve all your HVAC and air duct woes 24/7. Contact us today to schedule your service!