4 Typical Duct Issues in Your Home

Wednesday, September 27th, 2017 by Joy Padgett

     How many of us have really ever taken the time to think about the duct system in our home? If you’re like I was 7 years ago, you’ve probably never thought about the duct-work in your home. But, now that you’re thinking about it, you realize that without ducts, your heating and cooling units wouldn’t be able to keep your home at a comfortable temperature. How else could they transport heated or cooled air to the various rooms in your house?

Concerned and puzzled look on woman's face 

     Did you know that failing ducts are costing you money? Money you could be putting toward another family vacation, a new ultra HD TV, new Ping golf clubs, a pair of Louboutins, or college tuition. Not only is a failing duct system costing you money, but also affecting your comfort level and resulting in higher energy bills. So, because 1.  I want you to have money for something fun and 2. I want you to be as comfortable as possible in your own home, and 3. I don’t want you paying your utility company more than you should, I’m going to share 4 of the typical duct issues we see in homes today when we perform a home comfort analysis.

 1.       Leaking Ductwork

An average home today loses somewhere between 20-40% of the air circulating through its ducts. This means your duct system is causing major inefficiency in your heating and cooling system. Over time, ducts can become damaged or separated, resulting in avenues for heated or cooled air to escape into attics, crawlspaces and basements. Duct leaks can also create pathways for pollutants to enter your home which negatively impacts your indoor air quality.

By having your duct-work both sealed and insulated, less air will escape into areas you don’t want to heat or cool. Plus, sealed and insulated ducts will allow your rooms to be brought to a more comfortable temperature with less work from your HVAC system.

Multiple gaps in duct boot

 2.       Loose and Poorly Sealed Registers and Grills

Registers and grills that are loose and haven’t been sealed, or have been poorly sealed, allow air to escape your ducts before it ever reaches your rooms. Since you’re spending your hard earned money to heat and cool the air in your house, this loss of conditioned air is money wasted. Plus, this problem creates the need for your HVAC system to run harder and for longer periods of time in an attempt to make up for the loss. This can result in HVAC units breaking down faster than they should, requiring you to have them repaired and serviced more frequently.

By having your registers and grills secured and sealed properly, the air being transported through the duct system will reach its destination. Your rooms can more easily be kept at the desired comfort level and you may even find that you can adjust the temperature up in the summer and down in the winter since more of the conditioned air is actually reaching your rooms!

 3.       Pinched, Torn, Crushed or Disconnected Flex Ducts

Flex ducts (flexible plastic ducts) are used in seemingly every home in the whole country! They are typically less expensive to install and allow the contractor to more easily navigate the roof and floor truss systems as the HVAC system goes in. Understandable. However, these ducts get pinched , torn, crushed or disconnected for a variety of reasons. Stepping on the ducts or placing heavy objects on them can pinch or crush the duct resulting in restricted air flow to the room. Invaders, such as mice and raccoons can tear or disconnect ducts as they root around for bedding materials. Torn or disconnected ducts allow the air you are heating or cooling to escape into the attic, crawlspace or basement instead of being distributed into the rooms you live in. Even the movement of a house as it settles over time, can cause a shift in the ductwork that is great enough to cause air leakage issues.

Pinched section of duct work

By having your duct system sealed, the air you’re paying to heat or cool will actually arrive at its destination at the appropriate temperature. This means that room that just won’t cool down in the summer will cool down! It also means less wear and tear on your HVAC system components which can add longevity to your system. With a sealed duct system your HVAC system doesn’t have to work so hard, run so often, or run for long periods of time.

 4.       Un-insulated or Not Fully Insulated Ducts

 Leaks are not the only way your temperature-controlled air is escaping from your HVAC system. Un-insulated or not fully insulated ducts allow for loss of conditioned (heated or cooled) air. Let’s think about this for a minute…in the summer, we are asking our HVAC system to cool all the rooms in our house to 70 degrees. However, our duct system is in the attic where the temperatures can reach 140 degrees in Central Kentucky. If the ducts are surrounded by extremely hot air on the outside, what do you think is happening to the air on the inside? Well, if the cool air inside the duct only has to go a short distance, it’s probably going to be cool when it reaches that room. BUT….if the duct run in long, the air coming out the end is not going to be anywhere near our desired 70 degrees.

By having your ducts insulated (and fully insulated at that) the air you are paying to heat or cool will actually reach the desired locations at the appropriate temperature. This means all the rooms in your house can be used throughout every season! No more shutting off some rooms because they never reach your comfort level. Insulated ducts provide a much better system for delivering that conditioned air.

     I know you’ve got a room or two or maybe even three that just don’t reach a temperature to your liking, so you just avoid using those rooms. That’s sad and you don’t have to live that way! Fixing a duct system so that it performs to a higher level can be accomplished with sealing and insulating the ducts.  The efficiency of your HVAC system is also impacted by the condition of your duct system and can be made more efficient with ducts that are sealed, insulated and attached properly. The technicians at the company I work for, Weatherization Plus, can evaluate your duct system and provide you with an estimate. They can even break your project into phases to meet your budgetary needs or finance your project! What are you waiting for! Call today!

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