Are Your Air Ducts Underperforming? Common Causes of Airflow Obstructions

air ducts

Air ducts are like the arteries of your home HVAC system, and just like arteries, it’s not fun for anyone when they get clogged! Clogged ducts can keep living areas from getting the conditioned air they need, they can change the balance of airflow to force more air through certain vents and stir up dust into the air, and they can even cause HVAC system failure: a heart attack for your central A/C or furnace.
Watch out for these common obstructions in your duct system:

  • A clogged or dislodged air filter – Ideally, all the air flowing through the ducts also flows through the air filter. When it’s not letting air through, it’s not just a problem for a couple rooms of your house—it’s a problem everywhere. And if the air filter is pulled into the ducts, it can become a fire hazard if it travels near the furnace fan.
  • A dirty blower fan – If the blower fan gathers too much dust or grime, it won’t push air as effectively and can even become stuck.
  • A stuck fire damper – Fire dampers close in the event of a house fire in order to keep fire from spreading through the air ducts. But that’s really the only time they should be closed, otherwise they’re just stopping air from moving freely.
  • Damaged ducts – Whether it’s a flexible duct that’s been crushed by careless insulation or a rigid duct that’s developed a big dent or a rupture, damage to the ducts themselves can stop air from moving.
  • Loose insulation – Insulating ductwork is a good idea, because it keeps the air inside at the right temperature between the central system and your rooms. But if the insulation is inside the duct, it could come loose, pile up and obstruct airflow.
  • Blocked or closed return air vents – If these are closed, blocked by furniture or smothered by dust, air may not be getting to the HVAC system for it to condition and distribute.

To learn more about keeping air ducts healthy and obstruction-free, call us at Scott’s Heating & Air Conditioning today!

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