leaky ducts, leaky duct repair

What Happens When Your HVAC Ducts Aren’t Sealed Well?

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When homeowners think of home improvement projects, properly sealing AC air ducts isn’t often on the list. While upgrading leaky ducts isn’t a cosmetic improvement, it’s one of the best ways to upgrade your home without making structural changes or even moving furniture.

When properly sealing air ducts, you reduce energy costs and improve air quality. It also extends the life of your air conditioning system and reduces the risk of malfunction or breakdown. Air duct sealing is one of the few home improvements that pay for itself in energy savings, and it also helps reduce humidity.

Signs Your AC Ducts Aren't Sealed Properly

Air enters the heating and cooling system through supply ducts to be heated or cooled, and the air is then sent throughout the building to provide comfort. Once heated or cooled, it travels through return ducts back to the furnace or air conditioner. When there’s a breakdown in any part of that air distribution process, you’ll notice one or more of the following signs:

1) Lower Efficiency and Higher Energy Costs

Duct leaks can decrease your HVAC systems efficiency by as much as twenty percent. While this may not sound significant, it can lead to thirty percent higher heating and cooling costs. Lower energy efficiency can also lead to other malfunctions, including clogged drain lines, humidity issues, and dirty ducts. This causes a domino effect which can result in extensive damage to your HVAC system or home.

These issues will reduce the lifespan of your air conditioning system and lead to costly repairs or even extensive property damage. Having a professional HVAC technician inspect your ductwork is the best way to ensure your system is operating at its peak. We can recommend the best in energy star HVAC equipment that will save money in the long run.

2) Poor Air Quality

Poor air quality is one of the primary problems created with unsealed ducts, as unsealed ducts expose your home to airborne pollutants. This exposure can create issues that have been linked to eye, nose, and throat irritation, and it can even lead to the development of asthma or other respiratory ailments.

Poor indoor air quality doesn’t just cause respiratory concerns; it can lead to mold and mildew growth. A licensed HVAC professional can evaluate your home’s air quality and inspect the ducts to ensure proper sealing. Improved air quality should be noticed immediately.

3) AC Grills and Registers

Some homeowners don’t realize that AC grills and registers are essential components of the ductwork system. Grills and registers can become damaged and allow unfiltered air to enter the ducts, leading to filthy ducts that decrease efficiency and increase pollutants. 

Additionally, if these aren’t operating correctly, airflow can be restricted. Restricted airflow can cause water damage or a system’s malfunction. Also, improperly sealed or damaged registers and grills allow conditioned air to escape before it reaches rooms. Ensure that you’re regularly replacing your air filters and visually inspecting your registers and grills.

5 signs your AC ducts aren't sealed properly infographic

4) Damaged Ducts

Ductwork is the unseen hero of your heating and cooling system. It delivers warm or cold air throughout your home. Air leaks in ductwork damage the integrity of the metal coil, which causes cracks to form down its length or at bends. This makes it difficult or impossible for heat exchange to occur, resulting in inferior air distribution and wasted money spent on cooling bills throughout the year.

Ducts can become twisted, obstructed, kinked, or even crushed, and this damage is often not discovered until it’s too late because many homeowners are not frequently inspecting their ducts. Ductwork damage causes air leaks which force your system to work overtime, and this increased exertion will cause mechanical breakdowns before repair or replacement should be expected. 

5) Duct Cleaning vs. Duct Sealing

It is crucial to maintain your HVAC system to keep it running smoothly. One of the most critical components to maintain are the ducts. If the ducts are not appropriately sealed, leaky ductwork allows particles to enter and irritate others around you. Dirty air can have profound implications for you and your family, so it’s best to keep your duct system sealed adequately.

Another aspect of duct system maintenance is duct cleaning. Duct cleaning is a tedious process but necessary to maintain air quality. Duct sealing prevents air leakage that can occur anywhere between the furnace and the living space. Lack of sealant can result in higher energy bills from uncontrolled airflow, as well as contaminated indoor air from dust and pet dander that has been trapped in your air conditioning system.

Stay Cool: Call the Air Conditioning Experts

If your utility bills are higher than usual or your cooling system isn’t operating correctly, you may have leaky ducts. Before you slide into your crawlspace attempting a DIY repair with duct tape, contact Island Comfort today for a professional HVAC consultation. Our team of licensed professionals will inspect your ductwork and help you explore your options, and living in a stuffy house isn’t one of them!

If you believe you have leaky ducts, it’s essential to identify them as early as possible to prevent further damages. We can conduct an airflow test to ensure peak performance and pinpoint air leaks. We can perform additional inspections to locate any duct leaks if we discover less than optimal conditions. Ultimately, we’ll do our best to help you save money.

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