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Does HVAC Ductwork Go Bad?

family-cooking-in-kitchenThe condition of your ductwork is crucial to the effectiveness of your commercial or residential HVAC system. Problems with your air ducts can hinder the overall function of your HVAC system, causing the unit to work harder than needed. This can result in lower energy efficiency and poor air quality. 

While ductwork needs maintenance to ensure proper output, can HVAC ductwork go bad? Your local HVAC contractor answers this important question and provides details how ductworks function.

Ductwork Details from Your Portland & Beaverton HVAC Installers 

Our Beaverton and Portland HVAC company is often asked if ductwork can go bad. What does this mean? How long does residential and commercial ductwork last? What are steps you can take to ensure a healthy HVAC system? To address these concerns, it’s necessary to learn more about the function of ducts

Ductwork 101

Ductwork is engineered to distribute airflow from your HVAC system to your entire residential or commercial building. In simple terms, hot or cool air is extracted from your entire building into the HVAC unit where it then gets heated or cooled and recycled into your property via the ducts. Your HVAC goes through this cycle continuously to ensure ideal internal temperatures.

Think of ducts as air conduits that allow air a pathway to and from your HVAC unit. With that in mind, the straighter and shorter the track of the duct is, the better the air flow. In addition, any twists, blockages, and debris in your ductwork will impede optimum air flow. Therefore, it is important to make sure your ducts are properly cleaned and professionally installed for maximum performance. 

So, Can Your Home or Business’s Ductwork Go Bad?

common-ductwork-problemsWhile you can think of ductwork as pathways that air travels through, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are passive elements in the air conditioning and heating cycle. As air moves through the ducts, they can shift, expand, and contract. Winter heating causes the ducts to expand and summer cooling makes them contract.  

These movements put internal stress on the metal of the ductwork. While they don’t cause the system to go bad, per se, they will cause duct deterioration over time. What effect does this have on your ductwork? Seams can pull apart and ductwork can become detached, which impedes proper heating and cooling. This also opens the door to debris and water condensation, which can lead to rust. 

Common Signs for Ductwork Problems

Now that you know the importance of having healthy ductwork, how can you tell if your ducts are experiencing problems? 

  • Old ducts: If your residential or commercial ductwork is over 15 years old, and you haven’t performed routine maintenance, you might have deterioration in your ducts. 
  • Increased utility bills: If your utility bills are higher than expected, it could be a result of leaky or obstructed ducts. 
  • Poor indoor air quality: Gaps in your ducts can let irritants like pollen and dust into your residential or commercial property. This can not only aggravate allergies or asthma, but it can cause damage to your HVAC unit.

If you notice any of the above symptoms, let your HVAC contractor know right away to prevent any further damage. 

How Long Does Ductwork Last Before It Needs Replacing?

Even well-maintained ducts might eventually need to be replaced. How much life can you get out of your HVAC system before installing a new one? The good news is most ductwork lasts approximately 10 to 15 years.

If your ducts are older than 15 years, you might consider a complete replacement, or you might be able to just replace some of the components. An HVAC professional can perform an examination and determine the best solution. 

Your HVAC Ductwork Specialists in Beaverton and Portland

AAA Heating and Cooling serves the Beaverton and Portland areas. We perform routine maintenance to keep your ducts in top shape. We also provide HVAC repair and complete installation. Contact us today for all your ductwork and HVAC needs.

Some heating and cooling issues might be able to wait a few days before being inspected. Other HVAC problems require immediate attention.  What constitutes an HVAC emergency? When should you contact a local HVAC contractor? 

How to Identify an HVAC Emergency

hvac-emergency-signsPressing HVAC troubles can not only be a nuisance, but they can present serious problems to your commercial and residential properties. Luckily an HVAC maintenance pro can help diagnose and remedy the problems. Not sure if you should call in the professionals? Our HVAC contractors share some signs of HVAC emergencies and when to take action. 

Assess the Situation:

HVAC emergencies can present in the following ways:

  • Diminished or absent heating power 
  • Lack of electrical power to your heater or other appliances
  • A noticeable water leak
  • Unusual odors, like rotten eggs or burning smells
  • Unusual sounds coming from furnace or air vents

The first step if any of the above problems present themselves is to stop the damage from getting worse. Shutting down the power and turning off the heater or water main can allow you time to assess the situation. 

Call an HVAC contractor if the problem you are experiencing in your residential or commercial property:

  • Continues after shutting off power, water, or heat
  • Presents any immediate danger (such as smoke or sparks)
  • Affects your ability to go about your daily personal or professional activities

5 Common HVAC System Emergencies

1. Clogged Condensate Line

A majority of HVAC service calls are about air conditioning leaks. The most common cause of leaks is due to a clogged condensate line. The condensate line collects excess moisture and moves it outside to prevent damage to your HVAC system. This line can become clogged with dirt, algae, and rust. When this occurs water can’t evacuate the system properly, leading to leaks. While the leaks generally start off small, they can cause serious water damage if not taken care of early on. 

To ensure your condensate line is functioning at its most efficient, it’s important to schedule routine maintenance before any major leaks occur. 

2. Frozen Outdoor Unit in the Winter

 It’s common to have trace amounts of frost on your outdoor unit during the colder, winter months. If your unit is covered in ice for an extended period of time, it can cause long-lasting damage. 

When there is ice build-up, either internally or externally, this can be indicative of a poorly functioning defrost cycle on your machine. There are several causes for this, like a bad fan motor or low refrigerant charge. If you notice an iced-over unit it’s best to call your local HVAC contractor.

3. Frozen Coils in the Summer

Frozen coils during the summer occur when the refrigerant temperature is below freezing. This results in the surrounding air to condense and freeze. There are several factors that cause the refrigerant temperature to become so low including:

  • Running the A/C when it’s below 60 degrees outside
  • Running the A/C too low

To avoid an unexpected HVAC emergency, your residential HVAC installers recommend that homeowners set their A/C at or above 70 degrees. If the issues above aren’t the cause of your frozen A/C unit, then other common factors, like blocked airflow or refrigerant leaks.

4. Blown Fuses and Tripped Breakers

An overworked blower in your HVAC system can cause blown fuses and tripped circuit breakers. If the airflow is blocked due to a dirty air filter this can put stress on your blower. This blockage can cause your blower to overuse energy, which results in tripped breakers. 

Schedule an appointment with your HVAC installer to perform a routine air filter checkup. They might recommend replacing the air filter before resetting the circuit breaker.  

5. Malfunctioning Furnace

Furnace problems can be the result of a variety of factors. A malfunctioning thermostat, controller issues, cracked heat exchangers, and dirty filters can all cause your furnace to function poorly. 

If you notice a scraping sound, or other atypical noises emanating from your furnace, the ball bearings or belts might be failing. A yellow flickering pilot-light could indicate excess carbon monoxide. If you are experiencing any furnace-related issues, we recommend scheduling an appointment with a technician as soon as possible.

To prevent minor problems from turning into major emergencies, have your furnace regularly serviced by an HVAC professional. Scheduling preventive maintenance keeps your furnace running in tip-top shape, saving on costly repairs down the line.

Commercial and Residential Emergency HVAC Repair in Portland and Beaverton

If you think you are experiencing an HVAC emergency, call one of our trusted HVAC professionals. We offer 24-hour emergency service and repair for your urgent situations.

Looking to schedule routine maintenance to keep your system running smoothly? Stop by one of our two locations in Portland or  Beaverton to meet with one of our HVAC contractors. 

mom-and-child-by-windowWhether you own a home or business in Portland or Beaverton, it’s essential to choose a dependable technician for all your HVAC installation and repair needs. One way to guarantee worry-free results is to work with a NATE-certified HVAC contractor.

North American Technician Excellence (NATE), is an independent organization that certifies technicians in the HVAC industry. NATE-certified technicians undergo an intensive exam, which requires them to demonstrate their working knowledge of commercial and residential HVAC systems. 

NATE-certified techs focus their skills in specific areas, including:

  • Heat pumps
  • Furnaces
  • Air conditioning
  • Refrigeration
  • Indoor air quality 
  • And more 

When you choose an HVAC company with Nate certification, like AAA Heating and Cooling, you can expect professional results and the highest-quality service and equipment.

6 Reasons to Use Our HVAC Services in Beaverton & Portland

Our skilled NATE-certified technicians take the worry out of HVAC installation and repair. Here are some of the benefits you can expect from AAA Heating and Cooling:

1. Lower Utility Bills

piggybankProper HVAC installation and routine maintenance is key to reducing energy costs. A well-maintained HVAC system lowers overall utility bills. Preventative maintenance starts with scheduling an annual checkup with our technicians.

 2. Increased HVAC System Longevity

Professional upkeep of your residential and commercial HVAC system ensures all mechanisms are functioning properly. This helps avoid costly repairs and extends the life of your unit. Our pros know the ins-and-outs of proper maintenance and can maximize the longevity of your HVAC system.

3. Better Indoor Air Quality

 Neglected HVAC units can affect your indoor air quality. Clogged air filters and leaky ductwork are two main factors that can contribute to indoor air pollution. The good news is our local HVAC contractors can help you diagnose and reverse these potential problems. Once the initial problems have been addressed, schedule routine maintenance of your air filter and ducts to prevent air quality issues in the future.

4. Reliable Repairs and Installation

Our NATE-certified HVAC specialists are focused on maintaining the lifespan of your HVAC unit. They perform repairs for long-lasting results—not just a quick fix. This translates to a job done thoroughly the first time around, saving you time and money, and giving you greater peace of mind.

5. Superior Energy Efficiency

Lower-Energy-BillsWant to enhance your energy efficiency? We’ll examine every facet of your HVAC unit to optimize performance and increase energy savings. Our HVAC installers can also recommend new, renewable energy options for your home, helping you save money every month on heating and cooling. 

6. Professional Advice and Knowledge

NATE-certified technicians are experts in their field and have a wealth of knowledge to share. Looking for advice on reducing humidity in your home? Need resources on commercial heat pumps? Our expert HVAC teams in Beaverton and Portland are always available to share their knowledge so you can make informed decisions about your heating and cooling needs. 

Visit Our HVAC Company Located in Beaverton & Portland 

HVAC systems are intricate machines that require the best technical expertise to keep them at peak performance. At AAA Heating and Cooling, we provide quality repair, expert installation, and professional advice. Want to ensure the health and longevity of your HVAC unit? Let one of our dedicated HVAC professionals assist you. Contact us today!