Texan homeowners already know that springtime brings the occasional leaky AC challenge as temperatures rise and dormant cooling systems are activated to combat the heat. But the opposite issue—blocked air ducts—are another cause of seasonal concern. Blocked air ducts don’t just mean reduced airflow in your home. Depending on the cause—which can range from damaged ductwork, debris, or animal mischief (including raccoon and possum nests!)—your family could experience a significant decrease in air quality, and your AC system will have to work harder to do its job, increasing both maintenance costs and your monthly bill.
We’ve put together a short list of the most common signs indicating an unwanted blockage in your home’s ductwork, and some suggestions on how you can keep things flowing free.
Top Signs of Blocked Air Ducts
Obstructions in HVAC ductwork are surprisingly common, and can occur with new construction as well as existing homes. If you’re the unfortunate owner of some blocked air ducts, the symptoms will make themselves clear immediately. Keep an eye out for:
- Hot and cold spots If you’ve got wildly inconsistent temperatures as you move from room to room in your home, air might not be reaching where you need it to be.
- Strange aromas If you’ve got mold, debris, or animal build-up in your ducts, you’ll probably notice a distinct, and probably unpleasant, scent wafting from your vents.
- Gusts and gasps Both unusually weak and curiously strong airflow can indicate a logjam somewhere in your AC ductwork.
- Whistling, windy vents If your vents are whistlin’ Dixie or emulating a spring zephyr, you might be hearing the sounds generated as air moves past an obstruction.
Dealing with Duct Obstructions
Some blocked air ducts are dealt with more easily than others. For superficial problems like damaged or dusty vents, a quick replacement or vacuum can clear things up in a jif. You might also consider replacing your filter and making sure that all your rooms have adequate airflow to ensure consistent temperatures throughout your home (i.e., don’t close off rooms you’re not using).
If after a bit of investigating, you find your ducts might be blocked—and you want to make sure they’re completely sound as well as clear—your best bet is to reach out to your local HVAC pros for a thorough inspection. They’ll be able to give you sound advice on the best way to deal with your particular issue, and let you and your family breathe free and happy once more.