When you first purchased your current home, you believed that your HVAC system was the most advanced of its kind. It used all the latest technologies. But now that you’ve lived in your home for a while, you have noticed that your heating and cooling bills have steadily inched higher. You have also noticed that your home’s temperature takes longer to control, and it doesn’t stay even.
Most of the time, homeowners blame their furnaces or air conditioners for this problem and replace them. But before you take that step, scrutinize your ductwork. The fault may lie with your duct system instead.
Your air ducts transport heated or cooled air from your appliances to each room in your home. Over time, they may wear out and develop leaks. You’ll know you have leaky ductwork rather than faulty appliances if you notice the signs below.
1. Dust Collects in Ever Larger Quantities Around Your Home
You’ll naturally see dust buildup across your home no matter what you do. However, if your rooms accumulate dust much more quickly than they should, or if another layer of particles covers your items immediately after you dust them, then you might have leaky ducts.
Leaky ductwork pushes more dust into your rooms than functional ductwork. Leaks give dust more places to escape the ventilation and to coat the furniture and décor inside your home.
2. You Have Increasingly Worse Allergy Symptoms Indoors
You can see and touch the dust particles that cover your home’s interior. But what about the particles that float through your air? Leaky ducts contribute to poor indoor air quality, which means more dust, dust mites, allergens, and other contaminants occupy your air. As a result, you’ll have more severe allergy symptoms that will only worsen with time. And duct cleaning will only temporarily fix the problem.
3. Your Energy Bills Rise, but You Haven’t Changed Your Usage
Leaky ducts make your HVAC system less energy efficient. When cold or hot air leaks out through the ductwork, your system has to work harder to keep your home comfortable. As a result, your electricity expenses climb higher, especially during the summer and winter. You will have to seal any leaks before your energy bills return to normal.
4. Some Rooms Feel Stuffy or Have Uneven Temperatures
Your ducts won’t develop leaks evenly. So hot and cold air leaks into some areas and not others, and that uneven air flow creates pockets of different temperatures. These pockets could cover corners or entire rooms or sections depending on a leak’s size.
If one of these pockets sits over your thermostat, your home may never feel as comfortable as you’d like. You might even waste more energy as you try to get the house to your desired temperature.
5. Your Ducts Run Through Areas that Lack Insulation
Attics, basements, crawlspaces, and garages often lack sufficient insulation. So, even though your ductwork may work perfectly, its hot or cold air may still leak out into these non-insulated areas. Make sure your entire HVAC system has insulation to protect it.
6. Ductwork that Appeals Tangled or Crushed
If your ducts sustain physical damage during renovations or natural disasters, they will leak. They may also have sharp edges that turn them into a safety hazard. So don’t hesitate to contact your HVAC professionals for repairs.
Does your HVAC system exhibit any of the signs above? If you think the ducts in your home leak, call your HVAC specialist. He or she can perform a diagnostic to find the leaks, and then he or she will repair them to make your system more reliable and energy efficient than ever.