Signs of Ductwork That’s Aging

Signs of Ductwork That's AgingIf you have old ductwork, the odds are you have leaky ductwork. If your ducts haven’t been tested for leakage and your home’s more than 10 years old, statistics reported by the U.S. Department of Energy say your HVAC system may be leaking between 20% and 40% of the air volume circulating through the ducts.

A professional inspection of the duct system followed by a pressure test to quantify the exact extent of leakage is the definitive way to determine the state of old ductwork. In fact, local building codes in many areas now require it whenever you replace the furnace or air conditioner. However, your ducts may also provide subtle signs that they’re not as new as they used to be. Here’s what to be aware of:

  • Higher utility bills. If your monthly utility costs keep rising and there’s no other obvious reason to explain it, conditioned air may be escaping from leaks in old ductwork instead of heating or cooing your living spaces.
  • Temperature imbalances. Leaky ducts disrupt the delicate balance of circulating air in the system. Rooms further away from the furnace may be chronically chilly as warm air is lost from ducts due to leakage. Adjusting the thermostat upward to compensate then causes rooms closer to the furnace to be overly warm.
  • Air quality issues. Leaks in ductwork not only let conditioned air out, they may suck unfiltered air into the system from areas like the attic or crawl space. Higher levels of dust or other airborne particulates in your breathing air is another good indicator that the duct system is no longer intact.
  • Visual evidence. While most household ductwork is installed out of sight to the average homeowner, some spans (in the attic, for instance) may be visible. Look for dark streaks of dust around the joints between duct segments that indicate leakage, or signs that segments are sagging, deteriorating or becoming disconnected.

Your Terre Haute source for professional HVAC service since 1922, Paitson Bros. offers inspection, testing and sealing options to restore old ductwork.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Terre Haute, Indiana about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about ductwork and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 812-645-6859.

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “bernard-zajac/Shutterstock”

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