Many of us take our air ducts for granted and do not realize just how important they are to our homes. Air ducts help to keep us warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Without them, the temperature in our homes would be unregulated and we would be uncomfortable all the time. To help you stay comfortable in your home, it’s important to have your ducts cleaned and inspected annually. Failing to do so could lead to one of these six common duct problems.
Leaks are common in ductwork. So common in fact, that the average home loses about 20-40% of the air that circulates through its ducts because of leaks. This means that your furnace will have to work harder to push more air through your ducts so that your home feels like the temperature you have set it to. All of this extra work can result in higher heating bills.
Luckily there is an easy solution for leaks. A pro can seal them to help improve airflow efficiency. Not only will this help with lowering your heating bill, but it will also help with your indoor air quality. Leaks can allow outside pollutants to enter through your ducts and into your home. If saving money wasn’t enough reason to have your ducts sealed, reducing outside pollutants should give you that final push to make the call.
2. Dirty Ducts
If you suffer from year-round allergy-like symptoms, your ducts could be to blame. Dirty ducts will not only disrupt the airflow in your home, but they also will negatively impact your indoor air quality. Dust, pollutants and germs will all become trapped in your ducts and will continuously recirculate while your system is running. This means you will be breathing in the pollutants every time your AC or heating turns on. The only way to remove these pollutants is to have a pro clean them. This will greatly improve your indoor air quality and help you breathe easier.
3. Design Issues
One of the biggest problems with air ducts comes from design issues. An improperly designed duct system will not be able to effectively push air throughout your home. Sometimes during installation ducts can become damaged, resulting in kinks in your air flow. Other times, your system could be the wrong size for your home. If you have a design issue in your duct system, you will notice that it is harder to keep your home at a consistent temperature. This is because air is not efficiently being pushed throughout your home. The only way to find out for sure if you have design issues is with the help of a pro. They will be able to tell whether your system was installed properly and will be able to make adjustments to help increase efficiency.
4. Poorly Sealed Registers
If your ducts were designed well and there are no major leaks, you may still experience problems. A common problem with registers is that they are not properly sealed at the duct connection (the point where your ducts meet the register in your wall). This means that air can escape before it has even reached the room it is going to. Again, this can result in your furnace having to work harder and higher bills. A duct pro can quickly fix this by resealing around your registers. Doing so will help to ensure you’re getting all the air you’re paying for.
5. Lack of Insulation
Sometimes external circumstances can cause your duct system to not work properly. If your ductwork is not insulated, you could notice a loss of temperature-controlled air. If you’re looking for a quick fix to your air flow issues, updating the insulation around your ducts can make drastic improvements. Be sure to speak to a pro first before going ahead with this task. If the insulation around your ducts is fine, adding more will not fix your problem. If your ducts are not insulated, making this investment will make a huge difference in your home.
6. Plastic Air Ducts
Plastic air ducts are becoming more and more common, especially in attics. The benefit of plastic air ducts is that they are able to fit in spots that typical ducts cannot. Due to their flexible nature, it is important to check that they are not twisted or torn. These restrictions could be to blame for poor air flow quality in your home. Have a pro take a look and ensure your ducts are in the right position. Your solution could be as easy as adjusting a twisted duct (or it could be more involved).
Any number of these problems could be impacting your duct system and you would have no way of knowing. The best way to solve the problem is to have a pro come out and assess the situation. They will be able to identify any problems and know how to solve them. Making the investment to properly maintain your ducts will ensure you stay comfortable, pay less on your heating bills, and breathe easier.
Cover image courtesy of Aichele Club.