The ducts in most Coachella Valley homes are hidden away behind walls and ceilings, which can make them “out of sight and out of mind.” But if your ducts have leaks, they could secretly be negatively affecting your home in a few important ways. Today we’re going to talk about what duct leakage is, the three big effects it can have on your home and some common problems you can have with your air ducts near the Coachella Valley!
What is duct leakage?
Your ducts are the delivery system through which conditioned air is sent to every room in your home. In a perfect world, those ducts would be completely sealed up and air would have no problem getting where it needs to go. In reality, that’s often far from the case.
According to Energy Star, approximately 20 percent of conditioned air in the average home is lost due to cracks, leaks, holes and disconnections in the ductwork. Duct leakage can occur right off the bat due to a poor system AC installation, or they can develop over time.
3 Major Effects That Duct Leakage Can Have on Your Home
- Makes your home less efficient. When your home has duct leaks, conditioned air escapes before it gets to your living spaces. This decreases your home’s efficiency levels in two ways. First, your furnace and air conditioner waste energy on conditioning air that is never actually used. Second, your heating and cooling system has to work harder and longer to maintain your desired home temperature levels, which can severely increase operating costs.
- Makes your home less comfortable. Duct leakage makes it difficult for your home to heat and cool properly. Depending on where the leakage is located, some rooms might never receive enough conditioned air, which can create uneven temperature levels in your home. In addition, unconditioned air can leak into your ducts and alter your home’s temperature levels.
- Worsens your home’s indoor air quality. Another side effect of unconditioned air leaking into your ducts is that it can worsen your home’s indoor air quality. That’s because the air that leaks inside is unfiltered, and it can contain all sorts of contaminants. This is especially problematic when duct leaks occur in parts of your home that are commonly dusty (such as your attic).
Common Ductwork Problems in Coachella Valley Homes
- Design issues. Some issues with ductwork can start right when the ducts are installed. If you don’t work with a well-qualified contractor who knows how to properly size and install your ductwork, you’ll run into some major efficiency and comfort issues in your home. Some of the most common duct design problems include improper sizing, an inadequate amount of supply and return registers and ducts that inhibit the balance of your home’s airflow and pressure.
- Ducts not sealed. Ducts can become loose, cracked or disconnected over time. When this happens, conditioned air will escape out of your ducts before it has a chance to get to your living spaces. As you can imagine, this will have some big effects on your utility bills, because your furnace and air conditioner will have to work extra hard to keep your home comfortable. Unsealed ducts are also bad for indoor air quality, because they allow unfiltered air to seep into your home’s air supply.
- Leaks at air registers. Your air registers need to be tightly sealed to the ductwork that connects to them. Similar to duct leaks, loose connections at your air registers will allow conditioned air to escape before getting where it needs to go.
- Twisted, kinked or damaged ducts. If you’ve ever kinked a hose before, imagine doing that to your home’s ductwork. Instead of blocking water from flowing, kinked or twisted ducts will block air from flowing through your home.
- Insulation problems. If your home has ducts that are located in uninsulated parts of your home, they can suffer from heat gain or loss (depending on the season). This will warm up conditioned air in the summer and cool it down in the winter, both of which will force your furnace and air conditioner to work harder than they need to.
How Duct Leaks Create Cold Spots
When your ductwork has leaks, the heated air your furnace produces escapes through the leaks and never reaches the intended destination. Not only are you left with uneven temperatures, those duct leaks could be sending heated air right into your attic or other “unconditioned” spaces. In fact, heat loss due to leaky ductwork could be raising your heating costs as much as 30%!
What Causes Duct Leaks
There are many ways you could end up with leaky ducts, including:
- Improper Installation
- Fluxuations in Air Pressure
- Damage from Rodents & Vermin
- Corrosion from Water Damage
- Inadequate Insulation
- Seismic Activity
The type of ducts your home has will help determine how they got leaks. For example, flexible ductwork or far less likely to be impacted by seismic activity than rigid ductwork, while rigid ducts are less likely to be damaged by vermin and rodents than flexible ducts.
Avoid Duct Leakage Problems by Having Your Ductwork Sealed
The most effective way to eliminate the cold spots in your home and lower your energy bills is to have professional duct sealing done. This process repairs all gaps, leaks and tears in your ductwork and makes it so your heated air makes it from your furnace to your living areas without getting lost along the way. This is one of the best ways to lower your energy bills while also making your indoor environment healthier and more comfortable.
If you have any questions about duct leakage, or if you’d like a heating and cooling system serviced or installed in your home, contact Hydes, your Indio, CA, heating and air conditioning contractor.Why is My Air Conditioner Leaking Water? » « 5 Factors that Affect Your Furnace’s Efficiency Levels