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Can Duct Repair Work Alone Fix My AC Unit?

Can AC duct repair save a broken AC unit or do you need to replace the whole thing? Here’s the honest answer, straight from the professionals.

Ductwork is one of the hardest-working elements of any building, whether it’s commercial or residential. This complex system of tubing throughout your house carries conditioned and heated or cooled air to your vents, where it reaches you and your family. Of course, some homes are heated and cooled with ductless systems, which is an option homeowners are increasingly considering. There are many benefits of ductless systems, but they’re not commonplace in all homes yet. For now, let’s talk about the finer points of duct damage and duct repair.

All rooms have two types of ducts: supply and return. Supply ducts deposit conditioned air into a room, while return ducts remove the air from the space. This constant ebb-and-flow of air is what makes a room feel pleasant and fresh: When one or both of the pathways is backed up or running at decreased efficiency, you’ll notice a degradation in air quality.

Ductwork does not last forever. Eventually, the seams, seals, and joints weaken and break down. This happens naturally but can also be aggravated by the natural expansion and contraction of your ducts throughout the year. As the ductwork begins to degrade, it may lose insulation or spring a “leak.” Leaky ductwork is one of the most common causes of high energy bills: A percentage of cooled or heated air is lost before it reaches your vents and living spaces. Increased energy costs are frustrating, but broken ductwork can also be unsafe. It can increase allergens, making breathing difficult, and can even bring combustion gases (such as carbon dioxide) into your home, rather than depositing it outdoors.

On average, ductwork lasts for 20 years before needing major repairs or replacements. This lifespan can be extended with regular maintenance and professional care as soon as issues arise.

How Do I Know If My Ductwork Is Damaged?

There are many warning signs that you need duct repair. Here are the biggest indications that there is duct damage:

  1. Noisy airflow. Does it sound like there are gremlins living in your ducts? That’s…not normal.
  2. Funky or unpleasant smelling air. Pet hair, dust, and mold may be contributing to “off”-smelling rooms.
  3. Inadequate cooling or heating of distributed air. You’ve set the AC to 70, but it’s taking forever to get there. This might be a sign of duct damage.
  4. Increased energy bill (a sign of inefficient systems). If your cooling costs have spiked but your usage remains the same, it’s a sign of damage.
  5. Rooms feel humid or “stuffy.” This could be an issue with either/or the supply and return ductwork.
  6. Allergy symptoms increase or worsen. When allergens collect in ducts, your nose knows!
  7. AC air filter is constantly dirty. You should change your AC air filter routinely — but no more than once a month.
  8. Visible ducts are kinked, clogged, or twisted. Ducts should be free and clear of physical obstructions.

Will Duct Repair Fix My AC Unit?

AC duct repair can be a crucial fix for home cooling problems. But it’s not the only line of defense — and it’s not always where the problem lies. For example, you may be experiencing inadequately-cooled air. The problem could be with leaky ductwork, but it could also be an issue within the actual AC unit. Other common problems with a broken air conditioner include a clogged air filter, a broken compressor, or issues with the refrigerant. It may also break down to overuse, improper use, or air conditioner age

Some of these problems are viewable to the naked eye (a dirty filter or ice collection on the outside of your AC unit, for example). Other issues require professional expertise. How do you know when you can DIY and when you need a professional fix? When it comes to duct damage, it’s best not to take risks. Here at Blanton’s in North Carolina, we recommend always calling a trusted heating and cooling company to address ductwork issues. DIY duct repair will get you into a tight spot — forgive the HVAC humor — and could end up doing more damage than good.

When in doubt, call a professional. Contact Blanton’s Air in Fayetteville, North Carolina for all of your HVAC, heating, cooling, and plumbing needs. Our friendly service professionals are ready to serve you with professionalism and increased safety measures in the time of COVID-19. Call us today at (910) 822-2866.

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