How to Know if You Have a Clogged Duct

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Clogged air ducts increase the amount of energy used in heating and cooling. Clogged air ducts significantly decrease the life of a heating and air conditioning unit. Diagnosing and cleaning clogged air-conditioning ducts requires a little time and effort. The homeowner can prevent and remove mild to moderate buildup of dust, while more severe cases will require professional attention.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • A/C filter

Diagnosing Clogged Ducts

  • Turn on the central air-conditioning unit. Wait one to two seconds for the compressor to turn on.

  • Walk to each duct in the home. Place the back of your hand under the vent. Evaluate the level of air flow coming from the vent.

  • Inspect the vent for visible buildup of dust.

  • Use a screwdriver to remove the vent cover.

  • Inspect the inner duct with a flashlight for excessive buildup of dust. Use a vacuum cleaner crevice tool to remove dust from inside the duct.

Tips & Warnings

  • Replace the air-conditioning filter once every 30 days to prevent dust buildup. Preventing dust buildup assures the air flows freely from the ducts and vents. Free-flowing vents maintain the efficiency of the air conditioning system.
  • Have the ducts professionally cleaned, if the system is prone to dust buildup or if the buildup of dust and debris is severe.

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