A residential HVAC system is made of many different parts, all of which contribute to the comfort levels and energy efficiency of a home. Many homeowners focus mostly on the actual furnace and air conditioner units when making choices about improving efficiency or comfort. What many homeowners do not realize is that their ductwork is just as important a consideration when addressing their home’s energy use and efficiency.
The ductwork in your home is how the air is properly supplied to the furnace and then delivered to each room. Defects and leaks in ductwork seriously reduce the efficiency of your entire system. It is estimated that the average home loses anywhere from 25 to 40 percent of its air because of poorly maintained ductwork that leaks into unconditioned spaces and walls. No matter how new your furnace or air conditioner is, it will not run efficiently if the ducts that it connects to leak.
Your ductwork consists of return and supply ducts. The return ducts are the ducts that carry air from your home back into the furnace to be conditioned and cleaned. If there are leaks in these ducts, the furnace needs to work harder to pull air into its system. Leaks also allow unwanted dirt and debris to enter and clog your filters. Reduced airflow and unwanted material entering your system seriously affects the efficiency of your unit. The supply ducts are the ducts that distribute conditioned air to the various rooms in your home. If these ducts are not well sealed, then the air that you have warmed or cooled leaks into ceiling and walls and does not get properly delivered to your home. Rooms can become hot or cold, and your system has to work much harder to maintain constant temperatures.
While a homeowner can certainly check the seals on ductwork that they can see, like those in a furnace room or attic space, a professional HVAC company like SSI can provide expert inspections to find all the areas where either your supply or return ducts are leaking. A professional HVAC company can perform a pressure test by sealing off the intake and outlet registers in your home and then blowing air into the system. Technicians then measure the amount of pressure that stays in your system and identify where it is losing air. These pressure tests are the best way to determine where your ductwork is leaking and how much you air you are really losing.
Once leaks are identified, they can be properly sealed. Accessible ductwork can be sealed with various types of mastics or glues that are applied to areas where there are gaps or holes. For less accessible ductwork that is inside walls or ceilings, there are newer products that seal the leaks from the inside of the ducts by blowing in special products that close up gaps and holes from the inside of your ducts, rather than the outside. Addressing these issues can save a homeowner considerable money and increase the life of their system.
Make sure you don’t ignore this large and important aspect of your home’s energy use and efficiency. While your ducts may be out of sight, they are still a vital component of your HVAC system and should be maintained properly.
Contact SSI to learn more about duct sealing in your home.