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How Ducts Can Create AC Problems

AC Problems
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Has your indoor air felt stale lately? Or perhaps your AC hasn’t felt as cool as it used to be? You could have a duct problem. It’s normal to think that it’s a fault with your AC unit, when it’s often a duct issue that needs to be fixed. Let’s first have a look at the HVAC symptoms caused my underlying duct issues, and then we’ll identify common duct problems.

Symptoms of Poor AC Air Flow Caused by Duct Problems ​​​​​​

  • Poor Airflow

    Clogged ducts can affect the airflow into a room. This means that a room may not be as cool as it should be. A leak in the ducts will result in not all of the air being delivered into the room through the AC. If your AC’s airflow isn’t as strong as it should be, this could be because of an issue with your ducts.

  • Temperature Variance

    Your AC should be providing a constant air temperature flow into your home. If the air temperature coming out of your AC is fluctuating, this could mean that there is an underlying duct problem that needs to be addressed.

  • Smells Coming From the HVAC

    Your AC unit should never produce bad odors. If your air is smelly, it means that there could be an underlying issue. Over time moisture can build up in your ducts which is the perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew to grow. Your duct system could even be housing insect or vermin deposits which will definitely lead to a smelly AC.

Common Duct Problems That Affect Airflow ​​​​​​

  • Blocked Registers

    Check to ensure that the duct register grille is capable of being opened or closed. Registers can easily be blocked by various items. Sometimes these vents and registers can be closed by mistake, preventing the airflow in the room.

  • Clogged Ductwork

    Air Ducts can often become clogged by debris that accumulates over time. This will begin to affect your airflow to the point where it will eventually start to make a noticeable effect on your AC’s airflow coming into your home or office. These ducts can sometimes become completely blocked which will lead to temperature variations. It’s a good idea to call out a specialist to service your ducts on a regular basis. Duct cleaning and sanitizing should be part of your AC maintenance.

  • Air Leaks

    Leaks can also be a common problem in air ducts. Over time, a crack or hole may develop as a result of age, or even because of inferior installation techniques that were used in the first place. When ducts aren’t sealed properly you can lose 20% of your conditioned air. Your ducts should be sealed with mastic gum or metal-backed tape in order to prevent leaks. In confined areas, shortcuts can sometimes be taken. This can sometimes result in the correct supporting structures not being used which can cause duct joints to sag and create holes.

  • Poor Design

    Even if none of the above problems are present, your interior space may still be the subject of poor ductwork design. If you’ve recently changed the layout of your office or home, your ducts may need to be re-positioned in order for them to be the most effective. Even if you haven’t changed your layout, it’s still good to get your duct design checked to make sure it’s the best design for your space. Sometimes the AC load capacity can be under-estimated, and your AC ducts may have been built too narrow. This will definitely result in an AC under-capacity issue. Sometimes ducts can also be too long which decreases their effectiveness.

Get in The Duct Expert 

As you can see, there are lots of potential duct issues that could be causing your AC not to be working properly. Make sure you don’t delay your duct repair. It’s best to call in an expert to do a thorough duct inspection. They will be able to identify the problem and fix it up quickly and effectively.


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