Maintenance Checklist for Air Conditioning Ductwork

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Maintaining your air conditioning ductwork is a vital part of HVAC maintenance. Clean, tight, and leak-free ductwork helps to limit wear and tear on the HVAC unit, which will help to extend the overall life of the system. Another benefit is limiting energy loss and reducing energy costs caused by leaky ductwork systems. The following post will cover the basic steps you can do to maintain your HVAC ductwork.

What Is Air Conditioning Ductwork?

Air conditioning ductwork is a series or circuit of conduits used to distribute conditioned air throughout your home. An HVAC system's ductwork is often located in your home’s attic, but it is not uncommon for the ducts to run under the floor. Several materials are used in HVAC duct fabrication including galvanized steel, aluminum, fiberglass duct board, polyurethane, and insulated plastic “flex ducts.” Your HVAC contractor will most likely use a combination of these duct materials to fabricate your home’s HVAC duct system.

Ductwork Maintenance Check List

An air conditioner against a brick wall outside.

Maintaining your ductwork should include the following steps.

  • Inspecting ductwork
  • Sealing ductwork
  • Cleaning or replacing filters
  • Cleaning air registers and returns
  • Maintaining unobstructed air flow
  • Scheduling HVAC inspection and duct cleaning

Inspecting Ductwork

Inspect your air conditioning ductwork for visible signs of wear and tear. Holes, rips, tears, or loose duct tape are signs attention is needed. These concerns can allow conditioned air to escape into the attic, causing energy loss and increasing the run time of your HVAC system. When ignored, you can expect higher energy costs and the possibility of costly repairs to your HVAC equipment.

Sealing Ductwork

When you suspect a leaking duct or discover a faulty loose duct tape seam, you must act to correct the problem and minimize loss. Holes, rips, and tears along with poorly taped seams is easily fixed with foil "duct tape" tape. Available at most home improvement centers; the adhesive tape is designed to adhere to HVAC ductwork. After repairs are made, you should contact an HVAC professional for expert evaluation of your ductwork system.

Clean or Replace Air Filters

An HVAC air filter.

Most HVAC professionals agree that an HVAC filter should be changed or cleaned every 30 days. Changing your filter regularly is the easiest HVAC maintenance procedure you can make. Aside from protecting your HVAC system, a clean filter also improves the air quality inside your home.

Clean Air Registers and Returns

A running HVAC system is constantly circulating the air in your home. To help control dirt and dust in your home that can enter your HVAC system, clean air returns and registers regularly. They are the vents located on your ceilings, walls, and the front of your air handler or filter grill.

Maintain Unobstructed Air Flow

Avoid blocking air registers and returns. This is especially true for the return, where air inside of your home is drawn into the HVAC system. A blocked return can increase the workload on your system, driving up energy costs and increasing the chance of a costly repair.

Schedule an HVAC Inspection and Duct Cleaning

Hire a professional to inspect and clean your ducts. They have the trained eye and equipment necessary to find a leak. In addition, they have specialized equipment designed specifically for removing any dust, dirt and/or mold and mildew that can build up inside of your ductwork system.

Maintaining your HVAC ductwork and system has many benefits. Aside from those mentioned above, a clean HVAC system will provide you with clean, conditioned air throughout your home. Maintenance, along with changing your filter regularly, will help to control dust and other allergens within your home. Include HVAC maintenance on your spring to-do list. This will ensure your HVAC system is inspected, cleaned, and serviced at least once a year. This will allow you peace of mind knowing that when the temperature starts to rise, you can count on your HVAC system.