Have You Checked Your Duct Performance?

No need to duck this question as if it’s only something the pros know.  As a homeowner, you’ve got a clear view of how your ducts are doing.

Heating and cooling systems rely on ducts to move heated or cooled air among the rooms in your home.  When everything’s working, you’ll be nice and comfortable wherever you are.  But if your ducts are falling down on the job, it’ll create comfort inconsistencies that no amount of thermostat fiddling can fix.

In a typical home, leaks, holes or poorly connected ducts are trouble spots that waste about 20 to 30 percent of the air moving through duct systems.  Though you might not spot the holes on your own, you’ll sure notice when all that air-loss adds up to higher energy costs.

The first signs you see will look something like the following:

  • High winter and summer utility bills
  • Rooms that are difficult to heat and cool
  • Rooms that are stuffy and never feel comfortable
  • Ducts located in an attic, crawlspace or garage
  • Flexible ducts that are tangled or kinked

A well-designed and properly sealed duct system resolves these issues, improving comfort and energy efficiency, as well as indoor air quality and safety.  If dust, insulation particles and chemical fumes enter leaky ducts and recirculate through your home, allergies and asthma symptoms may worsen.  Similarly, leaky ducts could enable “back drafting” from gas appliances, drawing gases like carbon monoxide back into the living space instead of ventilating outdoors.

Duct work that hasn't been sealed yet.

Duct work that hasn’t been sealed yet.

Energy Efficiency: Don’t “Duct” Your Responsibility

You’d think twice about putting a new engine in an old car, right?  But many households do not take this same approach when it comes to their heating and cooling systems.  They purchase new, high-efficiency heating and cooling equipment and then attach it to a clunker of a duct system.

The equipment may heat and cool the home, but the system never performs at its full potential.  The fact is, many forced air duct systems can reduce your system’s efficiency by up to 20%.

The EPA’s ENERGY STAR program recommends that you have your duct system checked – either during an equipment replacement or a service call.  You can ask your local HVAC company about this when you call to set up your next appointment.  By fixing your ducts, you could save up to $140 per year in energy costs.

Do you have a clunker of a duct system?

1. Do your filter get dirty quickly? – Are there dirt streaks showing at the corners and seams of duct connections.

2. Do you have rooms that just do not get much air flow and never seem to feel comfortable?

3. Do you have ducts in your attic or crawl space? – Any or all of these conditions may be attributable to poorly performing ducts.  For contractors fixing your ductwork, here are a few of the recommendations the EPA offers:

– Inspect the whole distribution system, including attic and crawl spaces.

– Seal leaks and connections with mastic or metal tape.  Don’t use duct tape!

– Determine if additional air returns dampers or new zones are needed

Want to know more?  Let us know.