How to Tell If Your Return Air Duct Is Blocked or Not

Air Ducts

There are numerous components of your HVAC system that work together to contribute to higher efficiency and more effective heating and cooling. Some of these components are invisible to the homeowner and need to be checked periodically by professionals in Northern Georgia, while other aspects of your system can be managed with some DIY maintenance tasks. If you’ve noticed that your system doesn’t seem to work as well as it once did, you may want to check out the return air duct before calling for air-conditioning repair services in Gainesville, GA. Here’s what you need to know.

Location of Return Air Duct

The supply registers in your home are easy to locate because you’ll notice the warm or cool air blowing from them when the system runs. The return air duct is often overlooked because its role isn’t as obvious. The return supply duct is a larger vent than the registers in your home, and there are fewer of them as well. In fact, many homes only have 2-4 return air ducts. Most of these are located near the floor on the wall. Once you locate the return air vent, you’ll probably be surprised to see how much dust has accumulated on the grille, but this is normal. It’s a consequence of the important role that the return air duct plays.

What the Return Air Duct Does

In order for your cooling and heating system to work properly, there must be circulation of the air throughout the home and HVAC system. The air that’s pumped out of the registers has to be returned to the system so that it can be heated or cooled before being circulated through the home again. Just as a fan works to deliver the warm or cold air through the ducts to the registers, a fan works to draw that same air back into the return duct so that the cycle can continue. The placement of these ducts is carefully planned so that the air can effectively and efficiently circulate throughout your home. When the return air duct is unable to draw air in properly, the efficiency of the entire system is affected.

Return Air Duct Problem Causes

The main reasons the HVAC system experiences issues with the return air ducts is because the duct is either blocked or leaking. The blockage could be inside the duct itself, or you may have just overlooked the placement of furniture or other personal items in front of the vent. A blockage inside the duct can be caused by a buildup of debris or dust, but fortunately, this can be fixed by having your ducts cleaned periodically. Leaky return air ducts occur when the ducts are somehow damaged, and air is able to escape. Both of these issues cause similar problems. 

Impact of Blocked Return Air Duct

The most common consequence of a leaky or blocked duct is a drastic drop in efficiency and an inability for the HVAC system to cool or heat your home effectively. If you notice a sudden change, make sure to get 24-hour air-conditioning repair right away. You may also notice musty smells when there are leaks or blockages in the return air duct.

What You Can Do

You can avoid issues from a blocked return air duct by keeping the vents clean and getting the ducts cleaned. A professional inspection can also identify problems early before you lose efficiency. If you suspect the need for duct repair or other home AC repair in Gainesville, GA, contact Gainesville Mechanical today.

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