Can Your Heating and Cooling Ductwork Go Bad Over Time?

Can Your Heating and Cooling Ductwork Go Bad Over Time?

Every time South Carolina goes through a cold snap, you probably wonder what the heating bill will look like. You may worry about the bill going up and try to retain as much heat as possible in the house by sealing up drafty windows and doors and using rugs on hardwood floors. Sometimes, even with your best efforts, the bill still seems high. What can you do?

If your heating bill is high, one of the first places to look is your HVAC system. The easiest step is to check the filter. PECO recommends changing your filter every thirty days. If your filter is clogged with dust and debris, your system will be working hard to push air through it – and be pushing that dirt right back into your home!

Another factor to consider is your ductwork. Deteriorated ductwork can actually be leaking warm air, costing money and forcing your HVAC system to work harder than necessary, which can decrease the life of your system.

The Age of Your Ductwork

Old Ductwork

Do you know how old your ductwork is? Ductwork can start to deteriorate in as little as ten years if the original job wasn’t done correctly; the seams and seals can start to break down, letting air seep out. You may be able to see exposed duct work in the house and see signs of aging. Are the ducts cracking, sagging, or coming apart at the seams? Do you see any streaks of dust near seams?

Feel the airflow in different rooms of your house. When you turn on the air, can you feel it easily flowing through the vents in the living room, but feel just a trickle of air in the bedroom? Is there a distinct temperature difference between rooms? These could be signs that your ducts have deteriorated or there are heavy air leaks.

Duct systems today have an R8 insulation value and require all seams to be sealed with specialized tapes and adhesives. Our PECO team tapes, bands, and screws all the duct components together. This keeps seams sealed, as overtime, the tape can loosen as adhesives age.

Detriments of an Old System

Older duct systems had to meet lower energy standards than today’s duct systems. Some homes will have a grey plastic/fiberglass covering but are not sealed at the insulation seams. A few very old homes with original duct systems will not have any insulation at all!

If you have concerns about your ducts, the best thing to do is contact your local HVAC contractor. Existing duct systems where the insulation has come unwrapped in a few places can be repaired, however, if the entire system has become unwrapped it is best to replace everything.  Tapes don’t stick to old, dusty insulation and seal properly. PECO can fix or replace old ducts, which can have a big impact on your comfort level in your home by allowing air to freely flow and can help decrease the bill! Contact PECO today to make an appointment to inspect your ductwork.