Easy Steps on How to Inspect HVAC Ducts

March 25, 2024
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Easy Steps on How to Inspect HVAC Ducts

Keeping your HVAC system running smoothly is key to maintaining a comfortable home environment. However, an often overlooked part of the system is the ductwork. These hidden pathways deliver conditioned air throughout your house, and if they’re leaky or dirty, they can affect your comfort and even your wallet. At this point, you might want to know the simple steps of how to inspect HVAC ducts.

Here’s the brief: The good news is that you can inspect your HVAC ducts yourself for any problems. To inspect HVAC ducts, start by checking airflow from registers, looking for dust buildup, and examining visible duct sections for damage or pests. Then, conduct tests for leaks and contact a professional for major issues like extensive mold growth or significant blockages.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you out:

Easy Steps on How to Inspect HVAC Ducts 

Easy Steps on How to Inspect HVAC Ducts 

Your house often contains an impressive maze of ductwork in the walls and ceilings that carry hot or cold air to different rooms. Just because you can’t see them doesn’t mean you should forget about them. It’s important to inspect these HVAC ducts regularly.

During the inspection, you’ll closely examine all the ducts in your home. Let’s go through each step carefully to understand what to do.

Gather Your Supplies

  • Flashlight
  • Screwdriver (optional)
  • Mirror (optional)
  • Paper towel or tissue
  • Incense stick (optional)

Start with the Registers

Your registers are the air vents in your walls, floors, and ceilings. Start by turning on your HVAC system and feeling the air coming out of the registers. It should be cool or warm (depending on the season) and consistent throughout the house. 

If some registers feel weak or have significantly less airflow, it could indicate blockages in the ducts. So, these registers are a good starting point for your inspection.

  • Take a look: While the vents are open, take a look inside. Dust buildup is normal, but excessive amounts can signal problems like leaks or blockages further down the line. 
  • Remove the register: Some registers can be unscrewed from the wall or floor. If you can safely remove them, use a screwdriver to do so or consult your owner’s manual if needed.
  • Inspect the inside: Look for dust buildup, signs of rodent activity, or mold growth.

Moving on to the Ducts

Now it’s time to delve a little deeper and inspect the ducts themselves. Here’s what to focus on:

Visible Ducts:

If you have exposed ducts in your basement, attic, or crawlspace, take a close look at them. Here’s what to watch out for:

  • Disconnected Ducts: Ensure all duct sections are securely fastened together. Look for gaps or missing connections.
  • Ripped or Crushed Ducts: Damaged ducts can leak conditioned air and reduce efficiency.
  • Mold or Mildew Growth: This can be a serious health hazard and requires professional attention.
  • Signs of Rodents or Pests: Animal activity can damage ducts and introduce allergens into your air.

Feeling for Leaks: 

Safety Note: Turn off your HVAC system before attempting this step.

Leaks in your ducts can waste energy and reduce airflow. Here’s a simple test:

  • Place your hand near the duct seams and connections. Feel for any drafts or air movement.
  • Hold a piece of tissue or light paper strip near the seams. If it flutters or sticks, you might have a leak.

Smoke Test (optional):

If you want a more precise leak detection method, you can try the smoke test. Light an incense stick and hold it near the duct seams. If the smoke gets sucked in or wafts erratically, you might have a leak.

Call a Professional

During your inspection, be on the lookout for these signs that might require professional attention:

  • Excessive dust or debris buildup in the ducts.
  • Signs of mold growth.
  • Evidence of rodent activity (droppings, nesting materials).
  • Large leaks in the ducts.

If you discover any major issues mentioned above during your inspection, it’s best to call a qualified HVAC technician to address the problem. Professionals have specialized tools and expertise to clean, seal, and repair your ductwork properly.

Visit our informative blog to get a detailed understanding of air duct cleaning and sealing.

How to Maintain Healthy Duct

How to Maintain Healthy Duct

Duct systems must be tightly sealed to keep conditioned air inside and save energy. Loose connections, gaps, and damaged sections let air escape, wasting energy.

About 25% of air is lost through leaks, meaning a quarter of the conditioned air doesn’t reach your rooms. This is typical for duct systems nationwide. On average, homes lose 20 to 30% of HVAC energy due to duct leaks, leading to higher utility bills.

That’s why regular inspections are important, but there are also steps you can take to keep your ducts healthy. To keep your ducts healthy, follow these steps:

  • Regular Cleaning: Clean your ducts regularly to remove dust, dirt, and debris. Keep your basement, attic, and crawlspace clean and free of debris to prevent rodents from nesting near the ducts.
  • Change Air Filters: Replace air filters regularly according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Seal Leaks: Seal any leaks in your ducts to prevent energy loss and maintain efficiency.
  • Insulate Ducts: Properly insulate your ducts to prevent heat loss or gain and improve efficiency.
  • Control Moisture: Keep ducts dry to prevent mold and mildew growth.
  • Professional Inspection: Schedule professional HVAC duct inspection services to catch any issues early and ensure optimal performance.

In addition, take a look at our insightful blog to find out the right answer to the question, “Should you close air vents in unused rooms?

Improve Duct Efficiency with Air Duct Now

Improve Duct Efficiency with Air Duct Now

For a comfier and more energy-efficient home, think about fixing duct leaks with Air Duct Now in Tampa, FL. We check for leaks, seal them up, and clean your air ducts to keep your home safe and clean. With 15 years of experience, we offer reliable services, even on short notice. Our team is certified, insured, and local, specializing in making indoor air better by cleaning ventilation systems and air ducts using modern methods. We also test air quality and offer solutions for mold, allergies, and odors. Book our $99 air duct cleaning service today for a year-long guarantee.

Wrapping Up

In the end, knowing how to inspect HVAC ducts is important for a cozy and healthy home. Follow this simple HVAC duct systems inspection guide to find and fix any duct problems, keeping your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning efficient. Regular checks are vital for a well-functioning system and good indoor air quality. Don’t forget to inspect your ducts regularly to keep them in great shape. This learning is a must for all homeowners.


How to find the best HVAC duct inspection near me/HVAC duct inspection nearby?

Search online for “HVAC duct inspection near me” and check reviews to pick a qualified company with a good reputation!

How does an HVAC duct inspection camera work?

These cameras typically have a long, flexible cable and a high-resolution camera at one end. They are inserted into the duct system and controlled remotely to capture real-time images or videos of the interior of the ducts.

How often should an HVAC duct inspection checklist be used?

It’s best to use the HVAC duct inspection checklist once a year during regular maintenance; however, if you notice any problems with your HVAC system, more frequent checks might be needed.

What does HVAC duct inspection cost?

The cost of an HVAC duct inspection typically ranges between $200 and $500, depending on the type of HVAC system. It’s recommended that an inspection be done twice per year.

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