Most people give little thought to their HVAC system’s ductwork until something has gone horribly (and expensively) wrong with it. This is a huge mistake as a little preventative air duct maintenance can go a long way toward keeping your system running efficiently and preserving the indoor air quality of your home or business. The air ducts running through your home are a vital component of your HVAC system. Unfortunately, you may be surprised to find out how many HVAC and ductwork systems are improperly installed. Every time you turn on the heating or air conditioning system, air flows in through supply ducts and out through return ducts. If your system is improperly installed, it can cause high energy bills, low performance, bad air quality, and poor air distribution. Here are some common signs of poorly installed ductwork.
Air Duct Leaks
According to ENERGY STAR guidelines, the EPA will require that the HVAC systems in all homes that earn the ENERGY STAR label be installed according to industry–accepted Quality Installation guidelines established. This standard establishes industry–accepted best practices for proper installation of HVAC systems for optimal performance – providing homeowners with comfort, efficiency, and savings. The four main requirements of an HVAC QI are:
- Proper equipment sizing and component matching
- Correct refrigerant charge
- Proper airflow to match refrigerant capacity
- Sealing ducts to minimize leaks. According to ENERGY STAR “about 20% of the air that moves through the duct system is lost due to leaks, holes, and poorly connected ducts.” Ductwork leaks cause your HVAC system to work harder. In addition to losing conditioned air, if the ducts aren’t tight enough, negative air pressure can suck in dirty air. Air duct leaks are especially problematic in basements, crawlspaces, garages, and attics.
Look for cracks, gaps, and poor connections around all of your air duct seams. Consider scheduling professional air duct sealing if you suspect leaky ducts.
If you’re noticing dirt and debris around your vents, there’s a very good chance that your ducts have developed blockages or have a high amount of contaminants circulating through the system. High levels of dirt and debris circulating through your system can exacerbate allergies and other respiratory problems, so it’s well worth your while to have your ducts cleaned.
Signs of Leaky Air Ducts Include:
- Poor Comfort — Does your air feel stuffy? Are certain rooms difficult to cool? Leaking ducts could be spilling your costly cold air into the great outdoors. You may believe that the problem is simply your particular floor plan. The true culprit, however, may be poor duct connections.
- Low Air Quality — Compromised connections can pull in outdoor air as well. If you store chemicals such as paint thinner, fertilizers or pesticides in the basement, those fumes may be mixing with the air inside your home.
- Hazardous Backdrafting — Backdrafting is a problem that greatly reduces indoor air quality as well. Vented appliances such as water heaters, clothes dryers, and gas furnaces are designed to vent fumes to the outside. As those fumes are sent outdoors, instead of totally dispersing away from the home, your leaky ducts could be pulling some of the fumes back into your home. When ductwork is leaking air, it can be downright dangerous as well as costly.
- High Energy Bills — Look at your utility bills. Do you feel like you’re getting your money’s worth from your heating and cooling system? Even though fuel and electrical costs may be high, when ductwork is leaking air, it only adds to an ever-increasing energy bill. Between high energy costs and your ducts spilling precious air that you’ve paid for into the great outdoors, your wallet is likely feeling the squeeze.
- A Dusty Home — The fact is, there’s going to be dust. However, collapsed, broken and leaky ductwork can pick up fine particles and distribute them into your home. Dust happens. But if your home seems excessively dusty, the problem may be in your leaking ductwork.
Annual professional heating and air conditioning maintenance is very important. Early spring is the perfect time for a professional air conditioning tune-up. If you suspect improperly installed air ducts, contact a professional for a static pressure test. If you have a lot of duct leaks, airflow problems, and difficulties reaching the desired temperature, your ductwork may have been improperly installed. Ductwork should operate in a closed system, meaning tightly sealed from one end to the other. We are a professional HVAC company and will help you troubleshoot and solve any ductwork issues you may have. Additionally, we can conduct a duct leakage test before leaving your property.
Contact us (859-918-5400) for a Free Consultation!
About Phoenix Comfort Systems
Phoenix Comfort provides a full range of air conditioning and heating repair, installation, and maintenance services for residential and commercial customers. We keep your air conditioning and heating systems in their best condition and ready to go when you need them most, following the industry’s “best practice” methods and standards. Phoenix Comfort carries a full line of quiet, energy-efficient air conditioning and heating equipment.
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