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Ductwork. The crucial part of every home/commercial space and a major factor in energy efficiency is mostly neglected. It’s the bond of your entire HVAC system, so why do most homeowners overlook it?
Out of sight, out of mind…Ductwork is often hidden in ceilings or behind walls or is tucked away in the attic. Unfortunately, the hidden nature of ductwork is the culprit that causes decreased levels of comfort and higher energy bills as a result.
In reality, nearly 30% of the air moving through the system is lost due to poorly connected ducts, tears, and leaks! That is a LOT of wasted energy that results in difficulty in keeping the house at a comfortable temperature and higher energy utility bills, no matter how the thermostat is set.
The cost of getting your ductwork replaced, repaired, or cleaned totally outweighs the risk and cost of neglecting it. If your ductwork is over 15 years old, you probably should replace it. Ductwork has a maximum lifespan of 20-25 years. By 15 years, however, it begins to deteriorate, substantially reducing your HVAC system’s efficiency, so replacement is the sensible option.
How does ductwork go bad?
- It does move around due to expansion and contraction. In the winter heating causes the ductwork to expand and, in the summer, cooling causes it to contract. This thermal heaving can pull ductwork and seams apart, causing leaks.
- Sometimes, poor workmanship is the culprit. Badly joined ductwork that is not attached with screws or sealed with mastic or aluminum duct tape will pull itself completely apart.
- Similar disconnections can happen with the return ducts. This means that if you have a return duct running through a crawl space and it pulls apart, then all that gross clammy crawlspace air will be circulated back throughout your home.
- Uninsulated metal ductwork could rust due to condensation forming on the metal during the summer air conditioning season. Of course, rust will end up degrading metal to the point of holes causing leaks or breaking down connections.
- Sections that may have been installed without adequate support may sag and buckle and even block airflow.
Signs that your Air Ducts May be Leaking:
High Utility Bills:
A sudden spike in your utility bills is an indication that something somewhere is leaking.
A Dusty Home:
When your ductwork leaks, it’s likely going to pull some of the built-up dust in these spaces and spew them into your home which might also lead to increased allergy attacks.
Uneven Heating and Cooling:
Is one room cold while another one on the same floor is hot? Unless there is a constant flow of outside air into one of the rooms or one gets a high amount of direct sunshine, the issue is likely due to an air duct leak.
Economizer Ductwork Sealing and Repair
It makes a lot of sense to have the best home or commercial ductwork possible – for many reasons.
Overhauling your ductwork will help reduce extra and expensive problems that come with living in a home or building. Including high utility bills, poor indoor air quality, and dust.
Properly sealed ductwork can even diminish safety hazards caused by “back drafting”. This is a dangerous situation where combustion gases are circulated throughout the home instead of outside.
Repairing ductwork and even installing new ductwork is relatively inexpensive. Once the leaks are identified, properly sealing your ductwork requires surprisingly little disruption in your home. A professional contractor can get to all those hard-to-reach places to locate leaks, debris build-up, and problem areas.
A proper inspection by our trusted HVAC technician will include:
- Inspection of readily accessible ducts for obvious air leaks.
- Inspection of flue and venting.
- Check of temperature rise across the system for proper fan speed.
- Check the airflow across the system.
- Check of CO2 output at vent endpoints.