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Why Are There Little Black Plugs On My Air Ducts?

Why Are There Little Black Plugs On My Air Ducts?
Brandon Kirk

Brandon Kirk

Brandon Kirk is the owner of Planet Duct-Air Duct Cleaning. As a NADCA Certified Air-Duct Cleaning Specialist, he has extensive experience servicing air ducts in El Paso County and the Southern CO region since 2019.

If you are down in your crawlspace, unfinished basement, or utility room, you may see plugs in your air ducts or ventilation trunk lines. These plugs usually come in silver or black. The plastic plugs fit into one-inch holes drilled into your ducts during air duct cleaning.

At Planet Duct, your Colorado Springs HVAC experts, we know that air duct plugs are a sign of professional duct cleaning services. We offer a range of services from dryer vent cleaning to air duct sanitization and repair. Our technicians are passionate about your safety and quality of life, which is why we use top-of-line equipment and provide ongoing training to our staff.

Are The Plugs On My Air Ducts Helpful Or Harmful?

A properly trained air duct technician will drill one-inch holes on supply ducts and trunk lines to insert pneumatic agitation tools. The tools are whips or nozzles with multiple jets mounted on flexible air hoses or rods.  

When you see these plugs or caps, it is a good sign. It means a skilled air duct technician provided your air duct cleaning service. Also, when you have them cleaned again, the technician will not have to drill new holes. They will simply remove and discard old plugs. An expert technician will install new plugs into the holes to ensure a tight seal on your ventilation system.

Will a Professional Air-Duct Technician Ever Not Use Plugs?

Finished basements where the ducts are not visible are an exception. Because the ducts are not fully visible, your technician cannot drill the one-inch access holes. They can still clean the truck lines from the utility room. 

However, to clean the supply ducts, they would need to send a forward-facing nozzle tool down through the supply ducts in each room. Doing this may require removing screwed-on vents. You may have painted over your duct vent, so this usually requires customer approval.

Why do Plugs Have Holes?

Holes or eyelets in duct plugs allow technicians to use a pull rope or tape to remove the plug during your next cleaning. These plugs are still airtight as the hole should not go all the way through the plug. They protect your duct system from dust, dirt, and debris and are usually made of polyurethane. 

Still, they are considered more temporary than other types of duct plugs. So it’s good to keep up on your professional cleanings and have them replaced periodically.

What are the Different Types of Plugs?

Polyurethane and soft plastic duct plugs are the most common options for resealing your heating and cooling systems. They are cost-effective and easy to remove for future cleanings. 

Blank plugs are also a popular type of air duct plug, as they create a better and longer-lasting seal. They are corrosion-resistant, airtight, and watertight and can be tightened using a wing nut or loop nut. These are better for air duct repairs than for plugging air-duct cleaning holes, however, since they are more costly and harder to remove. 

What Are Those Square Plates On My HVAC System?

You may also notice square plates screwed into your supply and return trunk lines. The bigger plates are where the technician installed the vacuum truck suction hose. The smaller plates cover the holes where the technician may have inserted a rotary brush tool. The smaller hole, usually four inches in diameter, is also an excellent place for the technician to insert a camera for before and after pictures.

Why Planet Duct Is The Best Air Duct Cleaner | Get A Free Estimate

When I notice no plugs on the ductwork, it is a clue that a professional did not clean your ducts. Unfortunately, many carpet cleaning companies claim to clean ducts, but their carpet cleaning machine was not made for duct cleaning. They may be able to agitate the dirt in the duct, but the suction from their truck is inadequate to remove the debris, leaving you with dirty air ducts.

The absence of access holes on a duct system tells us that the cleaning was not done to the National Air Duct Cleaners Association  (NADCA) standard, which protects the health and safety of building occupants and workers.                                    

At Planet Duct, we are concerned when our Colorado Springs neighbors’ air ducts are not professionally cleaned. Beware of poorly trained air duct cleaning technicians with cheap equipment because they cost you more without improving your indoor air quality. Our team has been trained, NADCA certified, and only uses the best air duct cleaning equipment to improve your home’s air quality. Contact us to learn more and get a free online estimate.