Do you have a central heating and air conditioning system? Most homes in southern California do, so this shouldn’t come as a surprise. If you’re like the majority of other homeowners, your system relies on a network of carefully placed ducts that run cooled or heated air to the many various rooms of your home. Like the rest of your air conditioning system, your ducts also need to be carefully maintained to prevent air leaks that can harm system efficiency and cost you a ton in the long run.

Duct damage can come from several different common causes, and to help you avoid them, this blog will discuss four of the most frequently seen reasons for duct damage.

Duct Age

Whether your ducts are made from a softer flex material or composed of a harder metal or plastic, every form of duct is going to wear out with age. The constant expansion and contraction from running with hot air during cold times (or vice versa) will cause even the most weather and climate-resistant materials to eventually grow old and brittle, leading to cracks, gaps, and holes.

In general, a good duct system should last you 20 years or more, especially if you have it regularly cleaned, inspected, and repaired for any damage that may have emerged. However, if it’s been far longer than that since a professional was able to inspect your ducts, odds are you probably have an abundance of damage that could not only be making it harder to keep your home comfortable but costing you more in the long run.

Heavy Impact

Believe it or not, sections of your ducts may have collapsed or been crushed over time. This is particularly true for segments of your ducts that run through your attic or garage, where things are often stored on top of or near exposed ducts. This heavy impact can lead to dents or complete collapsing in certain sections, leading to a ton of lost air and energy.

However, crushing or collapsing doesn’t always happen immediately. You might think setting things on your ducts is safe and sturdy. However, over time as the material grows more and more brittle with repeated use, a segment may eventually collapse under the weight set on top of it. As a best practice, never set anything on top of your duct system, as the weight could crush your ducts and restrict their airflow.

Animal Damage

During the blistering heat of a southern California summer or the brisk chill of a winter night, animals will seek out whatever comfort they can, and for some, your ducts are an ideal shelter. They’re dark, undisturbed, usually extremely warm in winter, and even downright cold during the blistering summer months. Unfortunately, animals themselves are huge blockages in your duct system which means you need to find a way to get rid of them. What’s worse is that sometimes animals crawl into your ducts and then can’t get back out again and they eventually die inside, creating a truly detestable odor that’s nearly impossible to track down.

Make sure all outdoor ducts and vents are adequately sealed with a mesh or screen that’s small enough for even small vermin to be unable to access and have your ducts regularly inspected to see if there are any signs of animal inhabitants inside.


Ducts that are composed of organic material, such as wood or drywall, are a prime growing location for major mold colonies which can spread like wildfire and be a huge problem for your home. Not only does toxic black mold have extremely detrimental health consequences, but it also causes the structure of your duct to weaken as the mold slowly eats away at it. Mold is a parasitic fungus that feeds off the carbon in these organic materials to survive and continue to reproduce, and as such could quickly spread throughout your ductwork, leading to the need to replace the vast majority of it.

Do you need your ducts cleaned or repaired? Whether it’s a small inspection or a full home replacement, trust the Los Angeles duct repair team at JW Plumbing, Heating and Air to get you the results you’re looking for! Schedule an appointment online today and receive an estimate.

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