Air ducts represent essential components of your HVAC system. These ducts serve as the main channels that deliver conditioned air to all of the main rooms in your house. Common locations of air ducts can include the attic, ceiling, walls, basement, floors, or crawlspace. Since air ducts are among the most frequently used channels in your home, the ductwork system can eventually experience wear and tear. Fortunately, air duct sealing is a viable solution to this problem. A look at the importance of air duct sealing can help you make an informed decision about air maintenance for your household.
What Is Air Duct Sealing?
Air duct sealing is the strategic identification and repair of cracks, loose connections, or holes in your air duct. The presence of cracks or holes creates a phenomenon known as air leakage. This leakage refers to conditioned air escaping uncontrollably from your air duct before reaching its intended destination. Causes of these cracks and leaks can include poor duct connections or the aging of ductwork over time. Based on a study from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star, the average home can lose 20-30% of this conditioned air due to these leaks in the duct system.
Air leakage lowers the ability of ducts to distribute air, eventually causing the HVAC system to use more energy to deliver air to rooms. This can result in higher utility bills. Because air leakage makes air distribution inconsistent, rooms in households with duct leaks rarely reach the right temperature. In addition, air leaks can have health implications as well. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, air leakage can exacerbate indoor moisture problems that impact residents’ health and the house’s structural durability. For this reason, it is important to seek help from an HVAC professional immediately if you suspect leaks within the home.
What Are Signs of Air Leakage?
Finding an air duct leak is not always easy. Most air ducts are embedded within walls, and the average person does not have quick access to them. The typical house can have between 30 and 90 feet of ductwork embedded within the ceiling and walls. Fortunately, there are specific signs you can watch out for if you suspect air leakage. Armed with this evidence, you can then contact an HVAC professional for duct sealing and repair.
High Utility Bills
One of the main signs of air leakage is a higher energy bill. When hot or cold air seeps uncontrollably from your ducts, the leakage forces the unit to pump harder to maintain reasonable room temperatures. If your energy costs have suddenly skyrocketed, there is a good chance that a problem with the ductwork is the culprit. You can contact an HVAC professional to perform an air duct inspection.
Cold or Hot Spots on Walls
Cracks, holes, or poor connections in your duct can cause air to blow out and impact embedding within your walls. Specifically, this excess air can create cold or hot or cold spots on the drywall locations like your living room, bathroom, bedroom, or kitchen. For example, sections of your wall may feel overly cold while the air conditioner runs during the summer or overly warm when the furnace runs during the winter. If you come across unusual spots on your wall, it is time to contact an expert before these spots lead to further damage.
Excess Dust or Poor Air Quality
If you start noticing excess dirt on your belongings and your household feels dusty, air leakage might be to blame. Leaks enable dust particles to enter the ductwork, and the duct system can eventually circulate this dust throughout the home. In addition to dust, leaky ducts can potentially pull in particles from the air outside, the basement, or from inside the walls.
Unfortunately, your ductwork can even circulate fumes and other allergens that can compromise the health of occupants in the home. Examples of harmful fumes include particles from paint thinners, pesticides, cleaning products, garden chemicals, or kitchen fumes. If you notice a sudden decrease in air quality, reach out to an expert to inspect and fix the ductwork.
Repeated HVAC Breakdowns and Repairs
All HVAC systems need routine maintenance and may require repairs from time to time. However, if you have a relatively new HVAC unit but constantly find yourself facing breakdowns and repairs, these problems could be the result of a duct leak. Allowing your system to continue to run in an effort to overcompensate for the leaks can lead to further damage. It is often simpler to request a duct inspection and correct the leakage instead.
Often, one of the simplest signs of a leaky duct is decreased airflow. Any leakage can significantly impede the amount of air that reaches your room. If you notice a very slow flow of air from the supply vents, it is time to request that an expert conduct an inspection. Another way to recognize low airflow is if you experience uneven heating or cooling in various rooms. For instance, some rooms may feel stuffy or have pockets of hot and cold air simultaneously. This is a sign of poor airflow, and an HVAC company’s professional equipment can help correct the issue.
How Does an HVAC Company Perform Professional Air Duct Sealing?
Understanding the process of air duct sealing can help you prepare for the professional inspection and address any questions in advance of the visit. The first step includes a ductwork visual inspection or energy assessment. For example, a contractor may use special equipment to check for obvious gaps and holes or to measure air tightness.
A professional may also perform a duct cleaning service, then check the insulation around the ducts for any disturbances like cold spots or mold. In addition to the insulation, rust on the ducts themselves can indicate a leak. To complete a visual inspection, a contractor may check for dirty spots on nearby ceiling paint or carpet. These spots can indicate air leaks at interior wall-to-ceiling joints or wall-to-floor joists.
The next step may include a closer examination of duct joints. Since these are the spots where two ductwork sections meet, any excess strain can cause joints to wear out faster than other spots. HVAC professionals may use a traditional smoke test to determine whether air rapidly escapes the joints.
Finally, HVAC companies can also use specialized equipment to perform a pressurized test to determine whether there are holes along your ducts. This test can measure the amount of leakage in both conditioned and unconditioned rooms in the house. It can also pinpoint the precise location or joint where most leakage has occurred. This can simplify the repair process so that your HVAC system can star working effectively again.
Contact Us Today
Air leakage can lead to insufficient airflow and higher energy bills. Fortunately, air duct sealing provides an efficient solution for repairing these unwanted leaks and improving air quality. Emergency Air Heating and Cooling provides air duct sealing services for Chandler and the Phoenix metro area. We offer testing and repair to preserve the integrity of your ductwork. In addition to air sealing, we also offer full duct cleaning and new air filter installation. Contact Emergency Air Heating and Cooling today for all of your HVAC service needs.