Signs It’s Time To Replace Your Ductwork

Hidden behind the walls, in attics, and crawl spaces, is your HVAC ductwork. Many homeowners overlook their ductwork when they plan for HVAC equipment replacement, but it’s important to understand when it is time to consider replacing your HVAC ductwork.

Here are 7 signs it is time to replace your HVAC ductwork:

1. Ductwork Age: Just like your air conditioning unit, your air ducts can last 10-15 years with proper care. Over time, air duct seals, joints, and seams can deteriorate. This can lead to higher energy cost, poor equipment performance and decreased comfort in your home.

2. Airflow issues: If the airflow is diminished because your ductwork is worn, damaged, or dirty you will notice an increase in your utility bills.

3. Poor performance of new equipment: There could be many reasons your new air conditioning unit is unable to adequately cool your home. Checking your air filter and changing it, if necessary, is the first step you can take to improve performance. If your system is still not functioning properly, it may be time to have someone check and test your ductwork if it wasn’t replaced when you purchased your new equipment.

broken ductwork

4. Damage: If you notice damaged or disconnected ducts, deteriorating joints, and evidence of corrosion, it is best to let a trained professional assess the damage to your ductwork system. Punctures and dents can decrease the effectiveness of the system. Ignoring the issues will only continue to increase the overall utility spend.

5. Dirty Ducts: If you notice a smell in your home when you turn your air conditioning system on, it may be time for a duct inspection. Another indication of dirty ductwork is that there is simply too much dust in your home. An inspection can check for issues like mildew and mold as well as holes in your ductwork that can impact the air quality in your home.

6. Noise: If you notice new noises when your air conditioning system cuts on, it could be a sign that you have an issue with your duct system. Rattling and vibrating ducts indicate it is time for an inspection. The first step  is to have a professional service company check for damage and clogs in your duct system. They can recommend next steps- to either repair damage or replace your ductwork. Ignoring the issues will result in increased costs to heat and cool your home and potentially additional damage to your equipment from increased use and premature aging.

7. Hot / Cold Spots: Your system should be designed to heat and cool your home efficiently and effectively.  If you are noticing high energy bills and have areas of your home that aren’t comfortable, it could be an issue with your ductwork design.  A professional service company can do an inspection for you and identify any concerns with the design that could be leaving you with an uncomfortable home and high utility bills.

If you notice these issues in your home, taking steps to understand the condition of your ductwork system is the first step. Schedule a free consultation for a ductwork replacement today with Central Carolina.

dirty ductwork

The Importance Of HVAC Ductwork

Ductwork is an important part of your heating and cooling system. Your HVAC system relies on ductwork to circulate air throughout your home. Supply ducts send conditioned air into each room to maintain the temperature regulated by your thermostat. Return air ducts re-circulate the air in the home back through the HVAC system.

Ductwork problems can impact your home year-round if you have leaks or damage. The impact to your home can include:

1. Increased energy: Leaky ducts can cause air to enter your attic or crawl space, making your HVAC system work harder than required or designed. This will increase your utility bills and can prematurely age your equipment. Estimates show that a damaged duct can cause a system to work as much as 40% harder to maintain a comfortable temperature in the home.

2. Decreased comfort: Temperatures throughout your home could be inconsistent if the ducts aren’t able to circulate air as intended. This can result in hot and humid rooms in the summer and cold rooms in the winter.

3. Allergy issues: When there is a leak or damage to ductwork, dust, mold, allergens, and other particles can be drawn into your HVAC system and circulated throughout the home. This can lead to an increase in allergy or asthma issues for family members and pets.

Now that you know why your HVAC ductwork is important, if you are noticing an increase in your utility spend and inconsistent heating or cooling in your home, check out these seven signs it’s time to replace your HVAC ductwork.

hvac ducts
ductwork picture
hvac ductwork

How to save money when replacing HVAC equipment

Homeowners faced with HVAC equipment replacement have several strategies to find the best system for their home, the needs of their family, and their budget. Here are a few options to consider when it is time to replace your heating and cooling equipment.

equipment replacement condenser

Rebate offers

Contractors Many residential service companies offer rebates on heating and air conditioning systems at certain times during the year. If you are preparing to replace your equipment soon it is important to check and see if there are any rebate options available for your system or any indoor air quality accessories you may add.

Utilities Many local utility companies also provide rebates for replacing your heating and cooling system with a high-efficiency option. In the Triad, many homeowners have options for rebates through their local utility provider. Here are some of the programs in this area:

Sometimes the contractor you select to replace your equipment will help you with the rebate process. At Central Carolina, we offer this as a service to our customers as a courtesy to our clients.

Reduced utilities

Heating and cooling costs homeowners over 40% of their utility bill each month. By installing energy- efficient equipment you could save up to $300 in heating and cooling costs each year. The more efficient your system is or the higher the SEER number, the more savings you can see over the course of year. Learn more about this Duke Energy study.

Financing options for equipment replacement

Many homeowners choose a financing option to help spread the cost of equipment replacement out over a given time period. The payback period is often related to the terms of the offer. Examples of offers we see in the marketplace include equal payment plans, plans that offer no interest in exchange for a shorter payback period, and reduced rate options for longer terms. Learn more about Central Carolina’s selected financing options.

Ready to get started? Learn more about Central Carolina’s equipment replacement options and request a consultation.

Home Energy Efficiency Checklist

As the new year rolls in, most of us are thinking about changes and improvements we can make in 2021. Perhaps home energy efficiency isn’t as interesting as learning a new language or training for a marathon, but it can surely help you save money!

Here are some of our favorite home energy efficiency tips from energy.gov. We suggest resolving to save money in 2021 with these quick and simple ideas.

Install a programmable thermostat

Programmable thermostats are readily available at home improvement stores and easy to install on your own. You can program your home’s temperature around your schedule, so it will run less when you are away. Experts say a programmable thermostat can save as much as ten percent on your annual heating and cooling costs!

Replace your light bulbsImage of woman replacing incandescent bulb with a LED bulb

Swapping out old bulbs for Energy Star bulbs can add up to big savings. If you want to really invest in your home’s energy efficiency, consider Energy Star LED bulbs. These bulbs last 25 times longer and use 75% less electricity than incandescent bulbs. Energy.gov reports that use of LED lighting has the greatest potential impact on energy savings in our nation.

Put electric equipment on a power strip

You can save as much as $100 annually just by turning off so-called “energy vampires” in your home. These are devices that continue to use energy behind-the-scenes even when you aren’t actively using them. A simple way to do this is to install devices like this together on the same power strip. Then, you can just turn it off when not in use.

Unplug your chargers

We know, it’s so convenient to keep your phone charger plugged in all the time. But chargers consume energy even when your phone isn’t attached. For savings, unplug your charger when it isn’t in use.

Put your HVAC system on a maintenance plan

Regular preventive maintenance of your HVAC system will save you in the long run. A well-maintained system runs more efficiently and lasts longer. In addition, it’s best to have a professional spot potential problem before they become emergencies.

For information about preventive maintenance plans, call Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical at 800.461.3010. You can also use our online form.

A Dusty Home: Causes & Solutions

No one likes a dusty home. Let’s look at how this happens and what type of filtration and prevention can be done to lessen the amount of dust.

If you have a problem with the amount of dust in your home, no matter how much you clean, this may be an indication that your HVAC system is not filtering dust properly. There are a few common problems that can lead to excess dust and ways to fix it.

Home Air Filters

Checking your air filters is the first thing you should do if you’re experiencing issues with dust. Filters trap dust and other material from getting into your home, so they need to be either replaced or cleaned regularly so they work properly. If they get too dirty, they will become ineffective and allow dust and particles to build up in your home.

Leaky Ducts

If your air filters are clean, check the air ducts. Leaky ducts not only cause your HVAC unit to work overtime, but also cause unfiltered, dusty air to get into your home. You’ll notice your utility bills going up and dust collecting in your house.

Signs of a leaky air ducts:

  • Lint or dust build up on vent registers,
  • High energy bills
  • Hot or cold spots in your house

If you suspect the air ducts are the issue, inspect the ductwork for leaky joints and seal them. You may want to hire a professional to come in and fix the ductwork.

Humidity

High humidity in your home can cause dust build-up. The simple solution is to run a humidifier to reduce dryness. Humidity is a common problem and since mold and dust thrive under high humidity, you can’t afford to ignore it. If you find this is your issue, call for a  professional to install a humidifier.

Cracks In the Windows

Dust can get into your home through any cracks in the windows. You will want to re-caulk your windows to seal them and create a tighter fit.

Tracking Incoming DirtImage of shoes placed by front door mat

Dust and dirt can easily be brought into your home on your shoes. So, have everyone remove their shoes as soon as they come into the house. It’s a simple fix, but it could go a long way to improving the dust levels.

If you have checked on all of the above items, and remedied them with these basic fixes, but you’re still having a problem with excess dust, it’s best to have your HVAC system checked by a professional. It may just need a tune up or repair.

For professional assistance, call Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical at 800.461.3010.

What to do if a rodent dies in your ductwork

In the event a rodent dies in your home, you likely ask these questions – where the smell is coming from and how can you get rid of it? It’s common for homeowners to discover a small rodent like a rat, mouse or other creature has died in their ductwork. And it’s not pleasant.  It will most likely leave you with a horrible smell and some mess to clean up. If a rodent dies in your ductwork, the smell will most likely seep into your home, so you’ll need to plan on cleaning.

While it’s usually best to hire a professional, here are some DIY tips on what you can do in the event a rodent dies in your ductwork.

Track the Smellimage of a man inspecting an air vent

The smell of the dead animal will usually tip you off that there is a problem. But noticing a smell can mean the rodent died in one of various places in your home – the  basement, crawlspace, attic or ductwork. You’ll have to follow the scent.

If you suspect that it’s in your ductwork you should look into it using a flashlight. If you can see the animal, go ahead and remove it. However, if you don’t see it, you may need to hire a professional to search for and dispose of the animal.

Remove It

Once you have found it, you will need to remove it carefully. You’ll need supplies like a garbage bag, paper towels, gloves, and disinfectant spray. If you cannot reach the animal, you may need other tools to drag it closer to you. Once it has been located and the source of the smell has been removed disinfect the entire area. This will remove the smell and kill the germs left by the animal carcass.

Take Follow-up Steps

One thing you should do is thoroughly inspect your system and ductwork. It’s important to find any leaks to prevent another animal from getting into the ductwork. This will also increase the energy efficiency of your system.

You may also want to hire a professional to clean your ductwork. This will help get rid of any lingering odors and give you the peace of mind for your health that any bacteria or viruses have been cleaned away.

You may be able to rectify the issue of removing a dead rodent from your ductwork, but hiring a professional, like a pest control specialist is never a bad idea. To schedule a HVAC system inspection and make sure unwanted guests aren’t climbing through your ductwork, call Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical at 800.461.3010.

HVAC Upgrades for Comfort & Equity

HVAC upgrades will always be a safe bet and a smart investment — and yet, these home improvements are some of the most commonly overlooked by homeowners and flippers. A prospective buyer probably won’t automatically walk away from a home without all the newest gadgets, but they won’t even look twice at a home that lacks basic heating and cooling abilities.

Therefore, you should take HVAC renovations quite seriously and make them a priority over new flooring, paint, and other aesthetic or luxury upgrades.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports that HVAC remodels have a higher average return on investment than most other types of remodeling projects, yielding a return of up to 71%.

You’ll want to take into account the region, the age and size of your home, your budget, and the layout of your property. With these factors in mind, you can get an idea of your HVAC system upgrade options.

Is your current HVAC system in good working condition?

During the home-selling process, you can bet that people will ask you the age of your HVAC system. Was your system installed less than 10 years ago? If so,then it very likely has several good years of use left in it. Anything newer isn’t likely to make a difference in home value or offers from potential buyers. Anything older than 15 years old; however, will be a turnoff to buyers.

Can you get away with an HVAC repair instead of a replacement?

If your HVAC unit is less than 10 years old but functions like it needs to be upgraded, you might be able to get away with some simple repairs rather than a complete system overhaul.

It’s hard to go wrong with most basic HVAC upgrades. This is especially true if the home you’re renovating is more than 20 years old. Even though you may only recover 50% or less of certain HVAC investments, an upgrade could capture the interest of buyers and make it worth the purchase.

Furnace/Boiler

Replacing an old furnace or boiler is an easy upgrade that doesn’t require much labor. Most furnaces can last up to 15 years with proper maintenance, but most older heating appliances require frequent, pricey repairs and cost a lot to run. By switching to a new heating appliance, you conserve energy and improve the efficiency of your home’s heating system. This is attractive to potential buyers.

Insulation

Fiberglass insulation only costs around $1,200 on average and yields a $1,400 return upon resale within a year of completion. Poor insulation is an easy fix and a low-risk investment that yields a 95% to 116% return. Properly insulated walls improve a home’s ability to regulate internal temperatures and reduce the demand on its HVAC system.

Air DuctsImage shows new ductwork installed to add equity to a home

If you are replacing an old HVAC system with a more efficient one, you might need to upgrade your ductwork to accommodate it. Ductwork is made to last 25 years at the most, but it starts to degrade in about 15 years. Deterioration will reduce the efficiency of an HVAC system significantly. It’s a good idea to replace the ductwork if you plan to sell your home in the near future.

Windows

Approximately 35% of a home’s heat escapes through low-quality windows. Even if the walls of your home are highly insulated, it won’t do much good if the windows aren’t equally energy-efficient.

Doors and Weather Stripping

Another way to significantly improve your HVAC efficiency with minimal labor is to upgrade to energy-efficient doors and repair or replace any old weather stripping. Some of the most energy-efficient materials available for residential doors include fiberglass, steel, and vinyl. Try to avoid wood and glass if your goal is to prevent airflow.

After replacing your door, you should see a return of 75% to 91% of your investment upon resale, depending on the type of door you’ve chosen. When swapping out your door, don’t forget about the weather stripping. New weather stripping will ensure a tight seal around your doors and windows and prevent air leaks. This is one of the cheapest upgrades you can make to your home, ranging from $130 to $340.

Central Air

People want to be comfortable in every room of their home all year long. Most homebuyers today consider central heating and air conditioning a standard feature rather than an upgrade. So,without it, you may struggle to sell your home. A central air installation can cost anywhere from $6,000 to 15,000, but it could increase your home value by up to 10%.

Roof

While the roof serves to protect everything under it, it’s also an important insulator. Inefficient roofing materials account for 25% of heat loss. Just by upgrading to modern, high-tech shingles, you can relieve a lot of the strain on your HVAC system and improve your indoor comfort. Asphalt shingles can lower a roof’s surface temperature by up to 50 degrees and increase home value by $12,000. Investing in a new roof might seem like a big expense, but it has been shown that you can recover 105% of the cost at resale.

You can count on the professionals at Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, and Electrical to help you maximize your HVAC upgrades. Call us at 800.461.3010 or submit our scheduling form, to get started.