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When Ductwork Fails

When was the last time you thought about your ductwork? If you’re like most people, you probably scratched your head, thinking:

Am I supposed to think about my home’s ductwork?

Doesn’t it just work? Why think about it?

Or worse:

What’s ductwork?undefinWhen Ductwork Fails ed

Ductwork is an integral part of your HVAC system. Without ductwork, your furnace and air conditioner wouldn’t be able to function the way they do.

If you were part of the process of building your home, you might recall when your ductwork was installed. The distinctive metal framework tucked in between the studs snakes through your home to allow conditioned air to flow.

To work correctly, it has to be designed properly to allow air to flow to all corners of your home. It has to be installed correctly to ensure proper efficiency. And it has to be well maintained to be an effective part of your HVAC system.

It’s the maintenance part that most homeowners miss. How does ductwork fail?


Ductwork is usually made of sheet metal that can be easily damaged. When you’re moving Christmas boxes around in your attic, or placing unused items in the rafters of your garage, be careful not to shove them into your ductwork. Even “light” bumps can slowly crush the ductwork over time. If you see any dings or dents, inspect them to ensure they aren’t allowing air to leak through. Schedule a regular maintenance visit with one of our HVAC technicians to ensure your ventilation system is working the way it should.


When it’s cold outside, tiny pests like rodents and insects look for a warmer place to make their home. And if they can find a way in, your attic will do nicely. Unfortunately, if there’s a leak or hole in your ductwork, they squeeze in and build a home. Good for them; not so good for you. This can pollute your air supply, as well as send a variety of smells throughout your home. If you see any evidence of pests in your ductwork, call in one of our specialists immediately.


Occasionally, moisture can make its way into your ventilation system, and if it isn’t removed, mold can build up and spread quickly. This can impact your indoor air quality, leading to allergy and asthma symptoms. And very quickly, it can escalate to a remediation project. By having your HVAC inspected regularly, you can catch these problem areas before they are allowed to escalate.


Like everything, ductwork has a useful life. Eventually, it will wear out. The average lifespan for ductwork is somewhere around 25 years. Think of the use it goes through almost every day of the year, expanding and contracting as the heating or cooling system turns on and off, pumping air throughout your home. That’s a lot of vibration going on.

While proper design and installation are an integral part of keeping your home’s air supply properly conditioned, it’s also about having the proper system to do the job well. When was the last time you had an HVAC technician inspect your ductwork? If you can’t remember, now is the time.

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