Whether you are noticing cold air coming from your vents when the HVAC system is off or whether you are dealing with offensive odors emanating from the system, you may need to evaluate the health of your home’s ductwork. Ducts are often ignored because they are out of sight. However, they play an important part in your home’s comfort levels, indoor air quality, and energy usage.
How Duct Leaks Affect Your HVAC System
Ducts are responsible for between 20 and 40 percent of the energy usage connected with your home comfort system. The efficiency of the system can be compromised by cold spaces surrounding your ducts, poor insulation on the exterior of the ducts, and leaks, holes, or damaged areas in the materials. A disconnected section of your ductwork could cause your comfort costs to skyrocket as valuable heating or cooling energy is lost.
You may be able to pinpoint leakage problems by simple observation. Airflow from your vents when the system isn’t in use is a good indicator of trouble. Additionally, you can observe leakage at exposed portions of the duct system in intake and return areas. Hold a tissue to duct joints and observe movement. If the tissue is sucked up against a joint or blown away, there is a leak.
Professional leak testing and duct sealing will be more thorough, addressing the entire system. Your HVAC professional can measure air pressures and pinpoint issues. He can make necessary repairs with appropriate sealants to ensure that your energy loss issues are resolved.
Is Duct Cleaning Important?
Leaky ducts are often dirty because of the influx of air from outside of the system. Additionally, insects and rodents can gain access through damaged areas, leaving dander and droppings that can be a serious concern as they infiltrate your air supply. Even sealed ducts can harbor dirt and debris. You can check the following to assess the potential need to clean your ducts:
- Inspect fixtures and shelves – if dust layers are detected, then your ducts probably harbor similar levels of dirt. The same airstream that carries this material to your shelves moves through the ducts.
- Check your vents – a buildup of dirt on your vents is reflective of the internal condition of the ducts. You can remove registers and view a portion of the duct area to confirm your suspicions.
- Evaluate your air filter – if your filter is clogged with dirt, then your ducts are probably exposed to a significant level of dirt buildup. If your filter has lost its support and folded in areas, dust is able to flow freely into your ducts.
Meticulous maintenance of your home’s air filter can decrease the flow of dirt through the system. Use a high-MERV filter to keep levels down. Additionally, you can consider an air purifier to provide even better filtration of particulates from the airstream. Your duct cleaning needs will vary based on maintenance of your system, regular filter replacement, climate, and home sealing. Custom Air can inspect and clean or seal the ducts in your Bradenton, FL home as needed. Call our office to schedule your appointment.