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Here’s What Caused Clogged Air Ducts

We must understand how different appliances in our house work so that we can always enjoy a comfortable indoor environment and have maintenance scheduled for air duct cleaning, dryer vent cleaning don’t have clogged air ducts, When one of our electronic appliances malfunctions, it tends to disrupt our daily routine and add extra hassle. For instance, when our dryer malfunctions we get clothes drying issues. If our refrigerator displays issues, we have no space to store our food. And those are our basic needs, which just disturb our daily life activities.

Similarly, the HVAC system in our houses is a very crucial system that provides us with a comfortable indoor atmosphere in all seasons. Also, indoor air quality largely depends on the HVAC system, so any issues with the HVAC system will directly impact the air we breathe in. This explains to us the significance of ensuring the proper functionality of the HVAC system in our homes.

Today, we are going to talk about one of the critical issues that frequently occur with HVAC systems, i.e., clogged Air Ducts.

Air Duct Clogs: Why You Need To Address Them

Air duct clogs can be frustrating, but you cannot ignore them. Avoiding air duct clogs can be perilous to your HVAC system and your family’s health. Therefore, it must be dealt with as soon as possible.

The air quality and airflow in your home are greatly affected by clogs. They deteriorate indoor air quality and slow down the airflow. Air duct clogs mean that the ductwork in an HVAC system is filled with dust, mold, pet hair, mildew, and even rodent feces. The real problem starts when the inhalation of these small particles aggravates respiratory problems.

Even the most seldom-used room in your area should not contain air duct clogs. Essentially, HVAC systems distribute air throughout all ducts. When one duct goes out of service, the pressure balance within the entire ductwork system is changed. This results in various problems, including duct leaks.

Clogged ductwork forces your system to run longer and longer to maintain a comfortable temperature. Consequently, you have high energy bills on your hands and a damaged and exhausted HVAC system.

Causes of Air Duct Clogs

A faulty furnace or air conditioner is usually cited as the cause of cooling or heating problems, but it could be the air ducts. If you want to see if the ducts are causing your pain, turn on the HVAC and hold your hand in front of the vent for a few minutes. If you notice that you are getting limited airflow, this is a sign that you’ve air duct clogs or entire clogged ductwork.

Air ducts can get clogged in a lot of ways. It’s much easier to fix a problem once you know what’s causing it. A simple blockage outside is all it takes. Let’s look at the main culprits behind clogged ductwork.

Clogged Filters

Central air conditioning systems have air filters. The air filter prevents dirt and debris from building up in your air conditioning system, which keeps it running smoothly. In addition to keeping your HVAC system clean, air filters purify the air. Here, the important thing to note is that air filters do not come with an extended lifespan. Since they constantly filter air against dust and dirt, they get blocked with the caught dust particles.

The problem starts when the airflow is slowed down by clogged filters, which causes your HVAC system to disperse dirty air. Therefore, every 30 to 60 days, you should change your air filters for better energy efficiency. Check the manufacturer’s suggestion for the specific brand of filter you use for the exact frequency.

Damaged Ductwork

Another very commonly stated culprit behind air duct clogs is damaged ductwork. The seams of the ductwork can leak air if they become damaged or disconnected. The good news is that most ductwork damage can be fixed easily. It’s usually just a matter of replacing the old duct tape with new duct tape. In case, if the leak is in a problematic location or if there are multiple leaks the ducts might need to be replaced.


Two types of physical obstructions can slow down ducts: outside obstructions and inside obstructions. The first thing you should do is check the vents. See if there’s a couch in the way. If the answer is yes, you may have to reposition the furniture. Then there are internal obstructions. Check if the vents are dusty. If you spot dust inside the vents, you must deep-clean them.

If the vents are fine, move to the ducts and scan them for any dust or grime, filter parts, pest infestations, or mold. This is time-consuming if you do it yourself, however, if you approach duct cleaning services for this, you’ll get quicker and better results.

Closed Dampers

To control airflow, your home’s HVAC system uses dampers, return, and supply ducts. A closed damper won’t let air into a room. Dampers should always be open to maintain air pressure unless you need to temporarily close one to divert air or save energy.

However, the dampers could end up being damaged, jammed, or loose. As a result, air can’t pass through the grate and warm the room. Check if the air is flowing by manually opening the dampers via the butterfly valves. There could be a problem with your duct system if all your dampers are open but you don’t feel any air coming through.

AC Registers Don’t Blow Air

Your registers may not be blowing much air even though the AC is running. Usually, that means there’s a problem with your ductwork, like clogs or leaks.

Understand How Your Ducts Function

Homeowners often overlook the significance of understanding the mechanisms of the HVAC system. They don’t notice when air ducts get damaged or clogged until they become a grave problem.

There’s a network of ducts in your HVAC system. Supply ducts move air to cool or heat rooms. Air is then filtered, dehumidified, heated, and cooled by return ducts within the network. Vent grates are where return ducts pass.

There are two main categories of obstacles that affect your home’s duct system. Furniture or rugs covering a vent prevent air from moving freely into the room, resulting in an exterior physical obstruction. Internal obstructions, however, may occur. A filter clogged with dust and debris may have prevented air from naturally passing through, or an object may have dropped into and passed through a vent.

Most of the time, dust, debris, and dirt block passages. Paper, cardboard, woodchips, and other debris can occasionally pass through the grate and collect inside the ducts, particularly around bends and curves. There are times when pests or insects from outside get trapped inside or build nests.

If this happens, grab a flashlight and check inside. If the obstructions are visible enough that they can be found easily, you can either clear them by yourself or you should approach a professional pest control company to get rid of any nests. In the worst cases, HVAC professionals will need to help you if the obstruction is hard to reach.

Prevention and Maintenance Tips

To prevent clogged air ducts and maintain optimal airflow, consider the following tips:

  • Regularly clean and replace air filters to prevent the buildup of dust and debris.
  • Keep the surrounding areas of the air vents clean and clear of obstructions.
  • Control indoor humidity levels to discourage mold and mildew growth.
  • Seal any gaps or leaks in the ductwork to prevent pests from entering.
  • Schedule professional air duct cleaning and inspection at least once every two years.

Symptoms of Clogged Ducts

Much Faster Dust Accumulation

A classic indication that your air ducts are dirty is if you observe that dust collects thicker and appears more frequently. Your HVAC system could be drawing dust and dirt in when it runs because of an air leak in the ducts.

Dirty Vent Covers

Seeing dirty air vents in every room is another sign of clogged air ducts. Vent covers loaded with dust and grime tell you that they need cleaning.

Change Your Air Filter More Often

The duct system and return air vent circulate air throughout your home and the air filter traps dust, grime, and other materials. This helps keep them out of your HVAC system. Even if a filter replacement is due later and you find blocked filters, you should change them immediately. Blocked filters may be behind your clogged air ducts.

Home Airflow Changes

It should be a rule of thumb that your HVAC system should have the same airflow throughout your entire house. In the case where air seems to be moving at a very slow pace or at all out of the air vents, it is indicative of a clogged air duct.

Temperature Variation

There may be an airflow issue if some rooms are more comfortable than others. Sometimes the airflow from the vents deceives you. It would probably feel normal, but some parts would be hot and some would be cold.

The Energy Bill Has Gone Up

Having dirty or clogged air ducts can increase your energy bill. Your HVAC system must work for a longer period of time to get your entire home to the ideal level of comfort since clogged rooms take longer to achieve the temperature you want.

Air Duct Unclogging: How?

Depending on who you talk to, your local HVAC guy may use a different method, but the accepted method is to take off the screws from the duct covers and return the air grilles. You’ll need paper towels to cover the supply vents next. Then, you’ll set the thermostat to “fan on.” After that, you can loosen the duct in the ducts and take it out. It’s important to clean both supply and return registers. Airflow should resume once the system is cleaned properly.

Air Duct Blockages: How to Check

The symptoms of air duct blockages are similar to those of other HVAC issues, so it’s important to diagnose and resolve them properly. Think about these questions:

  1. Are you having trouble getting air out of your vents?
  2. Is your energy bill going up without rhyme or reason?
  3. What’s the temperature like in your house?

If each of those questions is yes, then you’ll know that clogged air ducts are to blame. Try turning on your air conditioner or heater to fix the problem. Now you can check your home’s vents to see if they’re blowing air. You can list the areas of your house where the airflow is poor.

Make sure the furnace or air conditioner filter is clean so you can make sure your filter isn’t clogged or dirty. When your air filter is clogged, you’ll lose airflow, and your air conditioner may have trouble working. You might have hot and cold spots in your house because of clogged filters. Change your air filters every 30 to 90 days to make sure you’re getting good airflow.

If your air filter is in good condition, it’s time to check the ductwork from the outside. Check your attic and basement for holes or loose fittings in your ductwork.

Here’s where you can check the dampers too. A multi-zone HVAC system usually has dampers. The dampers in your house control how much air gets into different parts of the house. There can be a blockage in airflow if the damper isn’t working properly. The air won’t get where it’s supposed to go. The best thing to do if you can’t fix the air duct problem yourself is to call duct cleaning services.

When to Take Professional Help?

Sometimes, the HVAC issues may appear minor, but their impact is quite serious on your system and your family’s health. As we discussed earlier, as a homeowner, you must be aware of the fundamental functions and mechanisms of your HVAC system so that you can pick up the signs the system gives when it malfunctions. But knowing the system and working practically to resolve it is a different thing.

Air duct cleaning requires specialized tools and knowledge that a common man isn’t equipped with. When it comes to professional air duct cleaning services, the professionals there have the required tool kit and expertise to handle your HVAC system. It may cost you a bit, but that’s worth your time and health. Understandably, deep cleaning the ductwork and freeing your HVAC system from any dust, grime, or pests that have settled inside can sometimes become a daunting task. Therefore, we recommend you call Benzvac, as we’re one call away!

Other Reasons for Ductwork Inefficiency

In addition to air leaks, a few other things can cause your home’s ducts to lose energy.

Uninsulated Ducts

Most ductwork runs through unheated or uncooled areas. Here, the ductwork’s temperature can be a lot different from the surrounding air. In the attic of a home, most of the ductwork runs, where temperatures often reach 130 degrees—that’s 60 degrees hotter than the 70-degree cooled air! Your HVAC system has to work harder to compensate for this loss of conditioned air.

Dirty Clogged Air Ducts

The air in your home constantly circulates and collects dirt and other airborne debris. Debris like this obstructs airflow. Despite not completely blocking airflow, buildup still slows free airflow through the ducts.

Dirty ducts are easily cleaned by professional duct cleaning. Remember, clean ducts make your HVAC run more efficiently.

Final Thoughts

Clogged air ducts can significantly impact the efficiency of our HVAC systems and compromise indoor air quality. By understanding the causes of clogs and implementing preventive measures, we can ensure the smooth operation of our air ducts. Regular maintenance, cleaning, and addressing any issues promptly will help us enjoy clean, fresh air and a comfortable living environment.

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