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Ductwork Obstructions That Can Alter Your Virginia Home’s Airflow

Ductwork is important to your HVAC system because it distributes air evenly throughout your home and creates consistent temperatures as well. However, ductwork obstructions can prevent air from moving evenly through your home. This can cause discomfort, energy inefficiency and safety hazards.

What Are the Most Common Ductwork Obstructions?

When you start sensing that one room in your home is cooler or hotter than another, there are some things you can do, but it’s helpful to contact an HVAC professional to check your ductwork for blockage. Here are some common obstructions to be aware of.

  • Dirty air filters – Dirty air filters contribute foreign objects that can clog your ductwork and can be dangerous. Excessive dirt on your air filter can clog your ducts, and also block the cooling coil. A dirty filter can also be pulled into your blower assembly and cause a fire in your system.
  • Blocked return air inlets – Return air inlets return fresh air to your HVAC system to be reheated. Debris and dust on the grille can prevent fresh air from entering these vents, but many people block these vents by sticking furniture or entertainment centers in front of or on top of them. Blockage of your return air inlets can decrease the efficiency of your HVAC system by as much as 30 to 50 percent.
  • Zone dampers – Zone dampers are mechanical doors in your ductwork that can be opened and closed by hand or automatically to control the amount of heated or cooled airflow to particular areas of your home. Sometimes these dampers become stuck closed and can block airflow.

The obstructions you can handle yourself include replacing your air filter on a regular basis, keeping your return air inlets clean and moving furniture away from your air return inlets. Have your HVAC professional check your dampers regularly to ensure their proper position.

When you need more information about ductwork obstructions, contact HVAC Unlimited. We proudly serve all residents of Fairfax County and the surrounding areas of northern Virginia.

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  • For emergency service, please call our office at 703-493-1200.


We have staff on call 24/7 to provide assistance to our customers. We provide emergency service up to 8pm for all customers and 24/7 for contract customers. For quick, efficient emergency services, please call (703) 493-1200 immediately.