How to Know If Your Ducted System Needs Servicing

17 January 2021



Ducted air conditioning systems are efficient, cost-effective and one of the wisest HVAC options you can choose to have installed in a new home or as an upgrade to your existing premises. By allowing you to independently control the temperature of different zones within the house they afford you maximum comfort at minimum cost while helping safeguard your family’s health.

Like any mechanical or electrical system, ducted air conditioners need regular maintenance to keep operating at their best. Ideally you would have your ducted air conditioning system inspected and serviced by a professional every six months to assure your comfortable enjoyment and avoid major repairs in the future. Unfortunately, air conditioners are one of those items that many people only think about once a problem arises.

This is a recipe for heartache as bad things never happen at good times. The truth is that if you have a ducted air conditioning system you need to have it serviced regularly to avoid major issues. Ducted air conditioners are complex systems that are subject to some unique complications if not properly maintained.

To help you stay cool and comfortable when the summer heat comes to Queensland and New South Wales, here are some of the problems a ducted system can develop if not properly maintained.

Leaking ductwork

The ductwork in most residential appliances is made from a flexible or rubber material. As your air conditioner cycles airflow the natural heating and cooling of the ductwork causes it to move and flex ever so slightly. Over time, this movement can cause tiny tears to develop, fittings to loosen and allow air to escape into or out of the system.

This will reduce the efficiency of your system causing it to run longer and more often to maintain the comfort of your home. At a minimum, this will make it more expensive to operate and shorten the lifespan of your unit. It can however cause more serious problems.

Openings in your ductwork can cause condensation to form and lead to water damage or the formation of mould and mildew. This along with the fact that unfiltered air can be drawn into the system could have health ramifications.

In many cases, minor damage to ductwork can be repaired. Past a certain point, it will become necessary to replace the ductwork. An expense that is easily avoided with routine maintenance.

Dirty ducts

In a properly functioning air conditioning system, the air is filtered as it passes through the unit. If leaks develop or filters are not properly cleaned or replaced when needed, ducts can be contaminated with dirt, dust, dander, pollen, mould and other allergens affecting the air quality within your home.

For people with respiratory issues like asthma, or eye and nasal allergies this can become a major concern if left unchecked. For homes with pets or in humid environments such as coastal areas in northern New South Wales and Queensland these issues can develop very quickly.

Unbalanced airflow

A correctly designed, installed and functioning ducted air conditioning system will have a balanced supply/return flow and maintain a neutral air pressure within the house. If out of balance, whether from a design deficiency or unmaintained and damaged ductwork, it will place a greater strain on the unit causing unnecessary wear and tear and excessive power use.

Insufficient insulation

Unlike other HVAC systems where the entire unit is in fairly close proximity, a ducted system relies on its ductwork to carry air from a centralised location. Depending on the home this can entail considerable distances and a certain amount of heat exchange is to be expected.

To minimise this loss, ductwork should be properly insulated. The insulation can be easily damaged from moister or vermin and can simply come loose with time and should be inspected and repaired or replaced regularly.

Malfunctioning zoning gates

If your home or building has a zoned system then it has gates that open and close to regulate the flow of air to each area. If these gates become stuck or malfunction the system will not be able to properly regulate itself. Highly sensitive, these gates should only be serviced by properly trained technicians.

Clogged condensation drain

Condensation is a natural part of any air conditioner’s operation. Dehumidifying the air is one of the primary functions an AC unit performs. Every unit has a drain line or hole to allow the excess water to be channelled safely away. If this drain becomes clogged it can cause negative pressure, musty odours, clogged filters, and in extreme cases severe water damage due to overflowing or water being sent through the ductwork into the house.

Dirty Coils

Air conditioners have two coils: a condenser coil that dissipate the heat that the refrigerant in your system has absorbed, and the evaporator coil that heats the refrigerant from the air as it passes over the coil. Over time these coils can become dirty and clogged inhibiting their ability to exchange heat and your ducted cooling system’s ability to deliver peak performance.

For more information on properly maintaining your ducted air conditioning system contact Advanced Air Conditioning or call (07) 3256 6033 today.

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