The air ducts in your home are an integral component of your HVAC system. Your workhorse furnace may heat indoor air that keeps you warm, but it’s your ductwork that delivers the goods. So, if your comfort isn’t as good as it should be and your energy bills are too high, the problems could be traced back to your air ducts. Keep reading to learn how, why and what to do next.
How Ductwork Works
Air ducts are a sprawling network of tubes that bring cool air to your furnace and direct heated air to your living spaces. That seems simple enough — especially considering ducts don’t have any moving parts. However, a lot can go wrong from your return grilles to your air outlets.
- Duct leaks: Most ducts are fabricated from sheet metal, and connected and sealed with tape. Over time, tape falls away and, suddenly, you’re losing heated airflow before it reaches your living spaces. Duct leaks may also be caused by holes or design flaws, such as using building cavities — not ductwork — to convey airflow.
- Heat loss: Ducts should be insulated since they are typically installed outside the conditioned spaces, such as in unheated basements, attics and walls. If they’re not insulated, heat energy easily and naturally transfers through duct walls to unconditioned spaces.
Tightening Up Ductwork
Metal ducts should last the lifetime of your home, if they’re well maintained. That said, duct leaks and other problems are often due to poor installation to begin with. Duct seams and turn joints should be impermeably sealed with mastic or spray-on sealant and high-quality metal tape.
Moreover, your HVAC professional should test the air-tightness of your air ducts before and after duct repairs are performed.
Locating Duct Leaks
Some of the indicators of leaky ducts are rattling noises as the loose metal ducts clang together, reduced airflow at the outlets and dirt streaks on the duct at the leak location. For the best results, consult your HVAC pro for a duct inspection.
If you suspect leaky ductwork is causing efficiency problems in your Long Island home, contact Cool Power today.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Hauppauge, New York and the Long Island area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about ductwork and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 631-292-0629.
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