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February 2, 2021
When it comes to your home’s heating and cooling system, your furnace and air conditioner tend to get all the attention. But just as important as the equipment that’s generating comfortable temperatures throughout your home is the system being used to deliver that area into the different areas of your house: your ductwork!
Duct issues can significantly reduce the effectiveness of even the most well-performing heating or cooling unit. Today let’s examine some of the most likely signs you’re experiencing ductwork problems, as well as what could be really going on inside your central HVAC system.
5 Signs You’re Having Issues with Your Ductwork
One of the biggest reasons why homeowners don’t often think of their ductwork as the cause of problems in their house is that it’s mostly hidden away out of sight, and because some of the most obvious signs of duct problems might not always be easily connected back to your ductwork.
1. Indoor Drafts
Ever felt cold drafts or dealt with comfort issues throughout your home? It could be from air leaks in your home’s building materials, but it could also be from leaky ductwork that’s letting in cold air in the winter from unconditioned areas of your house.
2. Issues with Indoor Air Quality
Ductwork is a great way to move conditioned air around your home, but unfortunately it’s also a great way to move around allergens and other air pollutants. If you’re experiencing indoor allergies or other IAQ (indoor air quality) issues in your home, it could be due to mold in your ductwork, or gaps in your ductworks that are letting air pollutants in.
3. Rising Energy Bills
Did you know that in the average house, 20 to 30% of all air moving through a duct system is lost due to leaks, gaps, and duct design issues? Many homeowners are throwing away significant amounts of money on heating and cooling air that never even reaches the rooms in their house, so if you’re seeing high energy bills, ductwork could be the culprit.
4. Inconsistent Temperatures
Do you have some rooms or areas of your home that are never as comfortable as the rest of the house? Duct issues—whether it’s leaks or poor design, can make it harder for the conditioned air from your heating and cooling system to reach every part of your house.
5. Condensation on Ductwork
If you’ve noticed water or condensation build-up on your ductwork (we sometimes call it “sweaty ducts”) in the summer—that’s the result of warmer air coming into contact with metal ductwork that’s being cooled by the conditioned air from your air conditioning. Sweaty ducks can lead to wet and damaged insulation, energy waste, and even moisture and humidity issues than can lead to indoor air quality problems.
4 of the Most Common Reasons Why You’re Having Ductwork Problems
Now that you know what to look for, here’s what could be causing your duct issues.
1. Improper Duct Sizing
Bigger isn’t always better when it comes to ductwork (or the other components of your HVAC system). Ductwork, just like your AC, furnace, or heat pump, should be sized correctly for your home using precise load calculations. Undersized ducts can be noisy and can overwork your heating and cooling units. Oversized ducts, on the other hand, can struggle to supply enough conditioned air to the rooms in your home, and as a result can also overwork your HVAC system.
2. Unsealed Ducts
Without proper duct sealing, cracks and gaps in your ductwork can lead to significant energy waste. The benefit of duct sealing is that you’ll use more of the conditioned air your HVAC system is generating, and you’ll improve the overall comfort of your home.
3. Poor Duct Insulation
Duct insulation helps prevent condensation and moisture issues from causing problems behind the walls and in the unconditioned areas of your home. It also helps improve the energy efficiency of your ductwork and helps more conditioned air reach its final destination.
4. Bad Ductwork Design
Ductwork that’s oversized or undersized like in #1, or ductwork that has too many turns and is laid out poorly can affect how effectively your HVAC system is able to heat and cool your home. Bad duct design can lead to inconsistent indoor temperatures from one room to another and higher energy bills.
Get to the Bottom of Your Ductwork Issues with an Energy Audit
As part of our home energy audit process, we’ll conduct a basic duct leakage assessment to identify any obvious problem areas with your duct system. Most of the time this test is enough for us to find your duct issues. IF your home does need additional testing, we can discuss running a duct blaster test to determine where and to what level duct leakage is occurring (ONLY if it’s deemed necessary), and offer our duct sealing services to help improve your ductwork and lower your energy costs.