Whether it’s hot outside, or winter is upon us, we all rely on our HVAC systems to keep the temperature inside our homes at a comfortable level. In order to operate effectively, these systems rely on an effective duct system, to supply treated air and then return it to your equipment to be conditioned again. If your HVAC seems to be struggling to heat or cool your home, it could be time to take a closer look at the duct system.
What Do Ducts Do?
Ducts are tubes that distribute heated and cooled air throughout the house. They are usually made of fiberglass board, sheet metal, or a flexible plastic-and-wire composite, and disperse the air which has been treated by the HVAC system. The air is supplied into the rooms of the house, circulated and then collected again, for return back to the HVAC unit.
In a typical home, around 20 percent of treated air is lost through leaks in ductwork, though it may be much higher than that.
Seven Typical Ductwork Problems
- Leaky connections. Every joint and connection is a potential leak. Seal ducts with mastic sealant or metal tape. Do not use standard duct tape – it won’t last.
- Return leaks. These can account for 26 percent of duct leakage, so pay particular attention to sealing this part of the duct system.
- Registers. Make sure these are firmly attached and also kept clear of furniture, rugs and what-not.
- Air filter slot leakages. Air filters should fit snugly in their slot to stop unfiltered air entering the HVAC system. This will save energy and improve indoor air quality.
- Duct insulation. Comprehensive insulation of the duct system, particularly in unconditioned areas, is a worthwhile investment. Regular checks will pick up on any collapse in the insulation, which can reduce efficiency.
- Leaking supply ducts. These cause the HVAC system to work harder, driving up energy bills. Ensure supply ducts are adequately sealed.
- Airflow restricted by kinks. Use a flexible duct brace to eliminate this problem.
Having ductwork inspected and cleaned at least once a year, as part of your HVAC maintenance program, makes a lot of sense. Please contact us at Wolff Mechanical, HVAC specialists in the Greater Phoenix area, to put a effective and affordable plan in place for your home’s forced-air cooling and heating system.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Phoenix Valley area of Arizona about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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