Out of sight, out of mind—this is the relationship that most homeowners have with their ductwork. Sometimes, we look at our common household items and ask ourselves: when will this go bad? Like most things, your air ducts have an expiration date. But how does something that’s made of metal go bad? It happens because ducts are in use every day for years, working hard to regulate the air in your home. If you’re wondering whether your ductwork is past its prime, watch for these telltale signs: 

Mould is growing.

Ductwork is what pushes the air in, around, and out of your home, whether it’s heated or cooled. If there’s a fungus in your ducts, that air becomes contaminated with each cycle. Breathing in mould can cause serious health problems, especially for those with respiratory issues. Symptoms include nausea, coughing, and trouble breathing. By replacing your ductwork, you can increase your home’s indoor air quality.

A critter has made your ductwork its home.

Pests look for any space where they can live undetected—your warm ductwork gives them the perfect place to call home. They can infiltrate through small cracks and holes in the ducts. Once an infestation begins, it’s hard to control it; keep your ears open for strange noises at night and pay attention to unusual smells. Blockages caused by pests can damage your HVAC unit. The waste they leave behind will pollute the air in your home. If a rodent passes away inside an air duct, you’ll soon notice a foul smell throughout your home that’s difficult to eradicate. As soon as you suspect a critter has made their home in your ducts, call a certified technician to remedy the issue. 

It’s been damaged by impact.

Any damage to your ducts spells out trouble for your HVAC system. When the ducts leak, you’ll see your utility bills increase. Do you notice that your home is excessively dusty? If debris enters your ducts through a crack, it begins to cycle throughout your home. Deteriorating air ducts result in poorer air quality, reducing the efficiency of your HVAC system. The average duct loses 20% of its air due to damage and faulty connections. You’ll notice that it’s more humid in the summer and drier in the winter. Some rooms will be too hot, while others seem to get no heat at all. 

The ductwork has outlasted its lifespan. 

On average, well-maintained air ducts will last between 20-25 years. But if your ducts are improperly installed or poorly designed, their lifespan may only be 10 years or less. At this point, your ductwork becomes less than optimal. Your HVAC system must work harder to push air through it, which uses more energy and causes damage to the unit. If your air ducts were installed during the seventies, it may use asbestos insulation; have it replaced right away to reduce the risks of health problems in your home. For the sake of your comfort and your wallet, it’s best to replace the ductwork once it’s past this point. 


Is your ductwork worse for wear? If you’re looking for heating and cooling professionals in Winnipeg, then you’re in the right place. At Provincial, our technicians have years of experience in the HVAC industry, whether it’s installation, repairs, or maintenance. When your ductwork needs a replacement or maintenance service, give us a call.