The ducts from your HVAC system provide the pathways through which treated air reaches the rooms in your building and delivers comfort to the occupants. However, nothing lasts forever, and air conditioner ducting is no exception. Ducts can come loose, spring leaks, and develop blockages as the result of material collecting inside of them. Any of these problems can reduce the efficiency of your HVAC, and even cause mechanical trouble in key components unless adequately addressed.
In this article, we’ll go into detail about some of the most effective ways to repair air conditioner ducting so that you can enjoy better performance and fewer problems with your service. Read what follows closely and use it to make informed decisions about how to care for these all-important parts of your system.
Healthy Ducts, Inside and Out: The Importance of Cleaning Your Air Conditioner Ducting
Even if the ducts are entirely free from leaks, they might still encounter problems due to lack of preventative maintenance. Running an energy-efficient air conditioner requires owners to change or clean their filters regularly and arrange for duct cleaning on an annual basis.
Filters prevent dust and other unwanted particles from entering the ducts in your HVAC, where it can settle and adversely affect the quality of the air that travels through the system. For best results, make sure that your filters are changed or cleaned at least once per month when the HVAC is in use.
Please be aware that even proper filter maintenance may not prevent a small amount of material from collecting in the ducts over time. When air ducts have not been cleaned for years, this material can pile up and clog the passageway to the point where treated air can no longer move through in sufficient quantities. When this occurs, HVAC owners may experience poor energy efficiency from their systems — as well as an increased risk of component failure when the system overworks itself to compensate for the lack of treated air reaching rooms.
Hiring a qualified HVAC service company to perform duct cleaning in your building once every year can ensure that your ducts are never threatened by a clog. Once you are sure that the insides of the channels are in proper condition, it’s time to turn your attention to their exterior joints and surfaces.
Repairing Air Conditioner Ducting
The first step in repairing air conditioning ducting is to locate the source of any leaks. Leaks can occur practically anywhere in the ductwork, so this can be a relatively time-consuming process. If you’re short on time and want to pay a service company to find the leak for you, many will be willing to take on the task. However, you can make their work easier (and potentially less expensive) by locating leaks yourself.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Turn on your HVAC fan
- Start at one end of your ductwork and feel along the sides, marking any places where you feel a draft. Drafts indicate that air is seeping out of a hole in the duct.
- Use special tape with metallic foil to seal the breaches. Avoid the use of so-called “duct tape” since it is not intended for use on ducts and will leak.
- If possible, paint a coating of duct mastic on top of the tape and the joints it covers to add extra strength to the seal you’ve created.
The Importance of Hiring Professionals to Repair Air Conditioner Ducting
It should be noted that while you can mitigate the damage caused by leaking ducts on your own, only licensed professionals possess the necessary tools and skills to repair damaged or leaking ducts sufficiently. In some cases, you may need to have the channels replaced entirely (mainly if the leak was caused by installing ill-fitting conduits in the system from the outset).
When calling a professional for help, make sure to seek out a company whose members are appropriately licensed for the job. The state of California requires all HVAC contractors to hold a valid C-20 license before they can work on projects costing more than $500, but it’s advisable to hire licensed technicians even when working on smaller projects. A C-20 license proves that the contractor you’ve hired has at least four years of professional experience under their belt and that they’ve made a financial commitment to the quality of their services by providing a bond to the Licensing Board.
Well-Maintained Ducts Provide Cleaner Air and Larger Energy Savings
Understanding the vital role that ducts play allows you to take better care of them, and to invest in their condition by choosing responsible contractors. Use what you’ve learned here to improve the state of your air conditioning ducting and check back for more posts on how to extend the lifespan of your HVAC system.