Posted on July 19th, 2013
Mid-summer has arrived. That means your air conditioning is getting a vigorous workout, and so is your monthly utility bill.
Does it seem like your air conditioner costs more to run than it should?
Do you wonder why some rooms have are hard to cool? Or, why does your house always seems too dusty? Any and all of these problems may be caused by leaky ductwork.
The leaks may be tiny and subtle, occurring at collars, joints and the air handling interface. If you live in a newly built home, the problem may stem from sloppy installation by the builder’s crew. In older homes, it’s a simple fact of life that over time joints come loose and duct tape falls apart. Even if it’s a small hole, when the equipment is turned on air pressure in the ducts increases 15 to 30 times. This forces air to escape, just like out of the narrow stem of a blown-up balloon.
Individually, none of these leaks may amount to much, but the cumulative effect is to dramatically reduce the operating efficiency of your HVAC system. One study done by the Florida Governor’s Energy Office concluded that duct leaks increase total cooling and heating energy use in Florida by about 33%. Calculate how much money you can save if you could cut your HVAC expense by a third.
You can detect and fix minor duct leaks yourself. While the system is running, feel along the ducts for air escaping. When you locate minor leaks, you can plug them with silicone sealants made especially for duct systems. Hardware stores also sell special aluminized tape that is more effective than duct tape for wrapping around duct joints and bends.
Also be sure to keep the filters clean on any forced air system. They should be replaced about once a quarter for optimum performance.
While these do-it-yourself fixes will solve minor problems, more serious cases would benefit from an examination by our professional HVAC technicians. If you have return air duct leaks in an attic or crawl space, often they will draw that hot, dusty, moldy air into conditioned space. This not only wastes energy, it can be a health hazard as well.
Mold and mildew from leaky ducts can float through the air and accumulate on various surfaces. Over time this can lead to structural damage to walls and furniture. Worse, they can lead to serious health problems for people with mold and mildew allergies, or for people with respiratory ailments. Humidity given off from leaky air ducts may also cause rust in building metal components.
So if you live in an older home, give us a call to inspect and, if necessary, clean your ductwork. Our duct cleaning department will be opening this fall. We will use specialized equipment and sanitizers to remove years of accumulated dirt and grime that contribute to allergies and other ailments, as well as system inefficiencies.
Also, ask about our annual service plan that will automatically take care of problems like these and keep your system running at peak efficiency for years to come.