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Is Your Ductwork Getting Old? Look for These Signs


Air ducts play an essential role in heating and cooling your home, and if your house has old ductwork, it may not be holding up its end of the bargain in circulating conditioned air throughout your house. So how do you know the ductwork is old and failing?


  • The ductwork's actual age. If your home is older than 15-20 years and still has its original ductwork, there's a good chance the ducts are leaking air or blocking airflow. If you don't know how old the ductwork is, a trained HVAC technician can inspect the ducts and give you a pretty good idea. He also can recommend repair or replacement.
  • You can see the old ductwork. Check out accessible, visible duct sections for signs of deterioration — loose connections, ducts that aren't tightly attached to ceilings or walls, rust or corrosion, etc. If you can't tell by looking whether your ductwork is old and failing, a technician equipped with the right diagnostic equipment surely can.
  • Your heating and cooling bills have been rising in the past year or two but there's no obvious explanation, such as heavier use or rising utility rates.
  • Some rooms in your house are getting stronger airflow than others. This could signal duct runs that are leaking, disconnected or blocked.


Old ductwork that's leaking air forces your HVAC equipment to work longer and harder to heat or cool your home. This is especially the case if air is leaking from supply ducts into unconditioned areas such as the crawl space, attic or wall cavity. Return ducts that are leaking air are also a problem, adversely affecting airflow, and making the equipment work harder.

Leaky ducts also can create a health hazard when dirty air from unconditioned areas gets sucked into holes in ducts, and then gets circulated into the home with conditioned air. This is called backdrafting.

For a professional ductwork inspection in your Silicon Valley home, please contact us at Valley Heating, Cooling, Electrical. We can tell whether the ductwork should be repaired or replaced.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the South Bay Peninsula and Santa Cruz areas of California about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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