How to Avoid HVAC Duct Breakdowns

HVAC Duct Breakdowns

The ventilation system is an integral part of all residential premises. It allows for constant air circulation, which makes it possible to obtain a comfortable living environment. But in order for the air ducts and the mechanical part of the ventilation system to cope with the tasks assigned to them, regular checks of the entire system are required for the integrity, patency of ventilation ducts, good draft, etc. Maintenance of ventilation and timely repair of damaged areas will avoid disruption of the exchange of polluted air for clean, accumulation of excessive moisture and dust in living quarters. In this article, we will tell you about the most common malfunctions of air ducts in order you can detect them on time and contact the company of HVAC duct repair in Sacramento to fix it. 

The features of HVAC duct maintenance

Air ducts play an important role in maintaining a comfortable home atmosphere as they carry conditioned air from the HVAC system to every room. Let’s consider the process of repairing these systems in more detail. 

1. Air duct maintenance

Any equipment and any engineering system needs preventive maintenance. The enterprises draw up schedules for preventive maintenance of equipment. Schedules are compiled on the basis of regulatory documents governing the maintenance of each type of equipment. According to these schedules, inspection, revision, cleaning, replacement of parts and other types of preventive maintenance are performed. The enterprises keep logs of preventive maintenance and inspections of equipment, which reflect the results of inspections and measures to eliminate the established deviations in the operation of the equipment. Logging allows you to track the status of systems and mechanisms and timely prevent emergencies at the enterprise. Prevention allows you to extend the life of the safe operation of the equipment.

2. Air duct malfunctions

Air ducts are an integral part of ventilation systems, which are also subject to routine inspections, repairs and cleaning, depending on their technical condition. The main malfunctions of air ducts are a violation of their tightness, as well as a decrease in the cross-sectional area due to dirt sticking to the inner walls of the airline. Maintenance of air ducts is reduced to the elimination of leaks and cleaning of contaminants.

3. Violation of tightness and leaks

The air duct network consists of many individual nodes: straight sections and fittings connected by flanges. During the operation of ventilation systems, vibration is inevitable, causing a violation of the connections of individual nodes, which leads to the spread of noise and unpleasant odors through the air ducts. This creates an unfavorable microclimate in rooms where people are located. Leaks in the air ducts reduce the efficiency of the entire ventilation system. To eliminate leaks and restore air duct tightness, damaged soft inserts, inner flange seals are replaced, damaged sections and elements of the air duct are repaired or replaced.

4. Air duct pollution

During operation, air ducts, filters and other parts of the ventilation system become covered with dust and grease. Moisture condensing on the inner walls of the air duct, in contact with fatty deposits, forms a dense layer of dirt that is difficult to remove. Such a layer can be so thick that it begins to affect the aerodynamic characteristics of the ducts. The deterioration of these characteristics adversely affects the performance of the ventilation system, increases the load on the fan motors, leads to their overheating and increased wear.

Due to pollution of air ducts, the quality of air deteriorates when it is recirculated in the ventilation system. Dirt deposits on the walls of air ducts are an excellent breeding ground for microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, and pathogens. Microorganisms are not visible to the naked eye, but the risk of disease for people working in rooms with air recirculation is not reduced by this.

The next danger posed by polluted air ducts is the risk of fires starting and spreading through air ducts throughout all rooms of the building. This is especially true for ventilation systems of public catering enterprises (restaurants, cafes, etc.)

How to prevent the malfunctions of air ducts

Experts identify several important actions that are necessary in order to avoid possible breakdowns of air ducts.

1. Diagnosis

To avoid possible dangers, timely cleaning of air ducts is necessary. If air exchange deteriorates, it is necessary to inspect all components of the ventilation network, check the internal section of the air ducts. Sometimes a simple inspection is enough to see the need to clean the ventilation ducts. However, there are times when it is necessary to turn to specialists. Specialized companies have at their disposal modern equipment with video cameras that allow for a complete diagnosis of the condition of the air ducts. After diagnosing, the company issues a conclusion on the need for cleaning.

2. Air duct cleaning

There are several ways to clean ventilation ducts, which are selected depending on the type of air line and the type of pollution. The most commonly used methods are mechanical and chemical cleaning.

Mechanical cleaning of the line is carried out by vacuum pumps and hydromechanical or hydropneumatic devices. A vacuum pump is connected to the outlet of the air duct, and special rotating brushes are placed at the entrance of the route. The plaque cleaned with brushes is carried away by the air flow of the vacuum pump into a special filter. Mechanical cleaning is a complex and time-consuming process, but gives the best results even with heavy contamination.

The chemical method is used to clean greasy air ducts in restaurants, cafes, kitchens, etc. A chemical reagent in aerosol form is sprayed inside the air duct, reacts with the fat layer and changes its physical and mechanical state. The fatty layer loses its adhesive properties, exfoliates from the walls of the air duct and is easily removed by air flow. The chemical method is effective with a small thickness of the fat layer. The disadvantage of this method is the need for tightness of the air ducts.

3. Air duct disinfection

Disinfection is required to get rid of pathogenic bacteria and microbes. It is necessary to disinfect not only the air ducts, but also all elements of the ventilation system. Aerosols and liquids based on various reagents are used for disinfection. When choosing an antiseptic, you need to consider the purpose of the room. Some reagents are intended for industrial premises, but are prohibited for use in children’s institutions, others cannot be used in kitchens, etc.


Inspection and repair of ventilation systems in the apartment should be done at least every five years. However, the consequences of the failure of the ventilation system will be noticeable after a couple of months, when the walls will be covered with mold, the windows will fog up and “leaks’’, and the tenants of the apartment will begin to suffocate from lack of oxygen. You can avoid this by checking and repairing your HVAC systems in a timely manner. You can apply for these services to Alpha Mechanical that has impressive experience in HVAC systems maintenance.

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