From Dryers to Blenders: An Appliance Blog

Signs That Your Heating Ducts May Have Been Damaged

Heating ducts can become damaged for a huge variety of reasons. During the winter, there are many pests that have a tendency to make their home around vents -- and they can easily chew through and create problems. Heating ducts can also simply wear and rust over time, and anything that can damage the interior of a home can also disrupt the ducts. Damage to heating ducts is particularly problematic because it leads to increased heating bills and decreased comfort. Luckily, there are some ways to tell whether your heating ducts might need repair.

Sharply Increased Utility Bills

If it's taking more energy to heat your home than it used to, then there's probably something wrong with your heating system. Duct work is the most common problem, but it could also be the heating system itself. Remember to look at the actual energy units used on your bill and not the total price, as the cost per unit does fluctuate.

Inconsistent Temperatures 

Some rooms may be hotter than others for apparently no reason. This usually happens if the heating is working fine, but some ducts to certain rooms have been disrupted. But there's good news: that means you're going to know which ducts to look at first when repairing them.

Rattling or Other Sounds in the Walls

If ducts have become loose, they are often going to rattle or bang together air is forced through them. These sounds could be heard anywhere in your home that you have ducts: the ceiling, walls, or even the floor. If you do have mysterious sounds within your home, it may not be your home "shifting"; it could actually mean that your ducts have worked their way loose. This shouldn't be confused with the sound of the HVAC system itself, which may also experience knocking or thudding.

The Smell of Mildew or Mold in the Air

Apart from moving, the other thing broken ducts often do is let in moisture and humidity. Most heating ducts are going to be fairly dry and arid, but when they are compromised, they start building up moisture. That will introduce the smell of mildew or mold into the air: a telltale sign that the system needs to be repaired.

A visual inspection of all your heating ducts is usually necessary to diagnose a problem -- but that can most definitely be a challenge for homeowners who don't want to crawl about in their attic and their walls. Companies that specialize in heating repair and air conditioning services will usually offer a consultation and inspection prior to servicing the ducts.