Repeat service calls for the same issue can be incredibly frustrating, not to mention costly. Despite loads of training and experience, there are some issues that are so far behind the scenes that it takes the elimination of everything else to get to the bottom of the problem. With so many moving parts in an HVAC unit, technicians logically start by focusing on the most common components to fail and eliminating those first. It takes a smart technician quite literally thinking outside the box to find the problems that aren’t in the unit itself, but in the design or sizing of the ductwork. Undersized ductwork is one of the most common issues to get overlooked, sometimes even for years! And it’s an issue that can cost you big bucks in service calls and early unit failure.
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Undersized ductwork can make your heating unit run extra hot, creating extra wear and tear on the heat exchanger, sensors and other parts leading to premature failure. There are temperature safeties built into heating units which will shut a unit off that is overheating, which protects your building and the unit, however, most safeties automatically reset once the unit cools down, allowing the unit to start heating again. Because the unit resets, you may not even realize that there is a problem, until it’s too late. The overheating may have already caused damage to your heat exchanger. Ductwork problems can go unnoticed for YEARS, even by experienced techs. But there are a few things to look for.
- Irregular operation of the heating system. Unit turning on and/or shutting off frequently.
- Discoloration on the heat exchanger.
- Early or repeated failure of the high limit temperature sensor.
Ductwork problems can even extend beyond the life of the prematurely failed unit. Since inspecting or replacing ductwork is almost never part of a unit replacement bid, most contractors never even look. They simply assume that the ductwork was designed and sized properly, so a new unit gets attached to existing undersized ductwork and the premature failure trend continues on! Getting a quality installation to begin with, including properly designed and sized equipment and ductwork (and don’t even get me started on controls) is obviously your best bet, but failing that, if you find yourself continually having issues with your HVAC system and/or you have to replace it before the typical 15-20 year lifespan has expired, be sure to ask your contractor to check the duct size, design and condition. You may find that’s where your problem truly lies.
If you’re having issues with your HVAC system, call Advance Air to schedule service or for more information about keeping your HVAC system and ductwork performing in top shape!