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Common Air Duct Obstructions That Can Ruin HVAC Efficiency

Unobstructed ducts are critical to good operation of your heating and cooling system.You might have the most efficient heating and air conditioning equipment that money can buy, but you won’t see the benefits of that efficiency unless you eliminate air duct obstructions throughout the system.

It’s a good idea to have your HVAC contractor inspect, repair and clean the ductwork for you, but there are also several steps you can take on your own to identify and eliminate air duct obstructions. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Check the air filter monthly and replace it if it’s dirty. A dirty air filter restricts the return airflow to your system, resulting in lower energy efficiency, shorter equipment life, and insufficient airflow throughout your home.
  • Look for disconnected duct sections and leaky seams. Look for places where air can leak in and out of the ductwork. If you attempt to do repairs yourself, be sure to use screws or clamps to join ducts together and seal leaky seams with mastic, not with the “duct tape” you can buy at your local supermarket.
  • Inspect flexible ducts. If you find flexible ducts that are kinked or crushed, you can try to straighten them out to eliminate airflow restrictions. If they have tears in their covers or if they won’t hold their shape when you straighten them, they should be replaced.
  • Keep registers open. Check supply and return air vents to be sure they’re not closed or blocked by furniture or carpets. You might think it will save energy, but closing off parts of your house by closing vents can cause airflow imbalances and make your air handling equipment work harder than it should.
  • Your HVAC pro can use special equipment to see into places that you might not be able to get to. Air duct obstructions you might not be able to see include loose insulation inside ducts or zoning baffles stuck in the wrong position.

Call us at Brennan’s Heating & Air Conditioning for expert ductwork inspection and repairs in our northern Virginia home.

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