Is your HVAC system struggling to keep your home cool in the summer and/or warm in the winter? The problem may not be with your furnace or your air conditioner. It may actually be in your ducts. When you turn your HVAC system on, whether you’re heating or cooling your home, air should blow evenly from all of your ducts.
You can test if you have a duct blockage by turning your HVAC system on, waiting just a few seconds until your compressor or furnace kicks in, and then physically inspecting each of your vents. All you have to do for this inspection is hold the back of your hand in front of each vent. If one of your ducts is blocked, you’ll notice that less air is moving through that vent.
Now, it may be time to call a professional HVAC contractor, but this may also be a problem you can solve on your own, if you’re familiar with the most common causes of blocked ducts in HVAC systems. Let’s discuss these causes and how you can fix them.
Closed or Blocked Vents
This is the most common and easily overlooked reason that you’re not getting air through your vent. Check to make sure that your vent is actually open. You don’t want to waste money on a contractor coming out for a problem you can fix by flipping a lever to allow air through.
A lot of people run into a similar problem as well that can be fixed with a little bit of reorganization and/or furniture rearranging. If you have a room that’s not getting enough heating or cooling, and the vent is actually blowing enough air, make sure that it isn’t being blocked by furniture, boxes, etc. before you call an HVAC expert.
Clogged Air Filters
How long has it been since you changed your air filters? They should ideally be changed once a month. If not, they’ll get clogged with debris, hair, dust, and pet dander, and they’ll stop allowing the proper amount of air through your ducts. Check and replace your air filters, and then check your vents again to see if the ducts are still clogged.
Damaged or Leaking Ductwork
If one or more of the seams in your ductwork is damaged or has become unsealed, air will leak out at these points, rather than continuing to be pushed through to your vents. Depending on where the leak is or how many leaks you have, you may need to have some repair work done or you may need to have your ducts replaced.
If you have a blockage in your ducts that you can’t clear by replacing the filters or vacuuming the ducts out, call an HVAC contractor for an inspection and estimate immediately. The longer you go with air pumping inefficiently throughout your home, the higher your utilities bills will be. This will also tax your HVAC system, which could result in further repairs. To save money and energy, get this problem fixed as soon as possible.