September 16, 2020

Your heating and cooling systems work hard to keep you comfortable throughout our beautiful central Utah seasons, so when your furnace or air conditioner struggles, it’s usually pretty obvious. A clogged air duct is a fairly uncommon occurrence, but if you suspect something is preventing normal air flow in your ductwork, it can be helpful to know what to look for! We know that homeowners want to make educated decisions about their property, so being able to do some simple diagnostics before reaching out to our team is something we’re happy to assist you with.

Signs Your Ductwork Might Be Clogged

There are three main signs that could suggest clogged ductwork. The first, and most common, is simply a lack of heated or cooled air being forced out of a specific vent. This could also be related to an improperly sized system, ductwork leaks or damage, or other issues, so clogged ductwork won’t always be the culprit. The other two signs that might mean a clog has occurred are uneven heating and cooling in your home, and a sharp increase in your energy bills.

The top 3 symptoms of clogged air ducts:
  • 1. Uneven heating and cooling throughout your home
  • 2. No air flow coming from specific vents
  • 3. Sharp increase in utility costs
  • Likely the first thing you’ll notice is that a specific room or area in your home isn’t as cool or warm as the rest even after running your heating or cooling system long enough that it should be comfortable. If this sounds like your situation, let’s review what you can check.

    Air Filter Inspection

    If you’ve ever had a problem with your computer or other electronics, you’ll know that the age-old first step is to turn it off and back on. Air filters are similar in that they’re usually the first thing to check when things go wrong with your heating and cooling! A clogged air filter will “choke” the air flow through your furnace, making it difficult to properly control the temperature in your home. It will also lead to a spike in utility costs due to the increased energy your system will expend trying to push air through your ductwork.

    Depending on the make and model of your furnace, your air filter can be located in different areas. You can refer to your manufacturer guidelines for locating your filter, and for information about the recommended intervals for which you should clean, inspect, and replace your filters. Typically, finding your air filter isn’t going to be too difficult. Usually, there will be a removable filter access door located in a return duct near your furnace. In older systems, this will probably be close to the blower motor. You might check crawl-spaces, utility closets, or your garage to find this access door.

    If you recently replaced your filter and started having issues, be sure to check that the filter has been installed correctly. Air filters are designed to have air passing through in one direction, and might have arrows printed to let you know which way to point the filter. The arrows should be faced towards the furnace or air handler. If the filter looks worn or is coated in dust and debris, it’s time to clean or replace it. Again, you’ll want to refer to the manufacturer recommended guidelines to determine best practices for your air filter. If you can’t find your owner’s manual for your furnace or need help with this step you could call your manufacturer directly, or reach out to our helpful, experienced team.

    Check Your Vents

    Have you recently decorated or moved furniture around? Especially during the holidays, it’s common to hang decorations around and shift things around to celebrate and accommodate additional houseguests. Locate your vents on interior walls near the ceiling, and be sure that there isn’t anything blocking air flow and causing the problems. This is a good time to bring a duster and gently brush any excess dusts from your vents, another thing that could be getting in the way of proper performance.

    While you’re looking at your vents, if you feel comfortable and have a sturdy stepladder, bring a flashlight along with you. Using the proper safety precautions, you can shine the flashlight into the vents and do a quick visual check. Do the vents look clean? Are there any obvious obstructions you can spot? Can you see loose seams or openings in the ductwork? If you notice anything that looks like it could be causing an issue, it likely is! For safe, proper cleaning and removal of ductwork obstructions or to repair damaged or leaking ductwork, leaving the job to experienced professionals is your best bet. Our technicians at Gunthers Heating, Cooling, and Plumbing can help you with this service, should you need it.

    Reach Out for Help

    If you’ve checked your vents and air filter and can’t see anything unusual, and the problems are still persisting, it’s time to reach out to our crew for some assistance. There could be an issue with a damper, a system repair that is needed, or an issue lying deeper in your ductwork that should be addressed. Rest assured that our highly experienced team is more than capable of accurately diagnosing and resolving the problem to get your home comfortable once again.

    For more information or to request assistance with resolving a clogged duct in your home, please call our team at Gunthers Heating, Cooing, and Plumbing today. We can also help with things such as drain cleaning, indoor air quality, and plumbing services.

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