Your home’s ductwork is a vital part of your HVAC system, and it needs to be fully sealed and in good shape for the system to work effectively and efficiently. Leaking air ducts is a common problem and one that will affect both your home comfort and your wallet. If your ducts are leaking, having them repaired and/or resealed can provide a number of important benefits. To understand how, today we’ll be looking at why it’s so important that your ducts are fully sealed and also how to know when duct sealing is necessary.
How Often Should Ductwork Be Inspected and Re-Sealed?
We generally always recommend having your ductwork professionally inspected once a year as part of your annual heating and cooling maintenance. The general recommendation is that you should also have your ductwork fully resealed every 10 years or so or anytime that it is damaged or shows any other signs of leaking.
If your ductwork is less than 10 years old, it typically won’t need much more than a quick check just to make sure everything is still in good shape. On the other hand, if your ductwork is more than 20 years old, you may want to start thinking about having it replaced. Ductwork typically has a maximum life span of 25 to 30 years and will always start to degrade and suffer more issues as it ages.
What Happens If Your Ducts Aren’t Properly Sealed?
If your ductwork isn’t fully sealed, it will have some spots where air escapes whenever your heating or air conditioning is running. The same is also true if your ducts are damaged or have started to sag and come loose from the wall or ceiling.
Leaky ductwork puts a lot of added stress on your HVAC system and will force your furnace, air conditioner and HVAC blower to work much harder and run more frequently and for longer. All of that air escaping also limits the effectiveness of your HVAC system and will often lead to rooms at the furthest ends of the duct system constantly staying colder in the winter and hotter in the summer.
Poorly sealed or damaged ductwork is a problem that affects most homes and is generally one of the biggest sources of energy waste in the average home. It is estimated that the average home loses approximately 20% of the conditioned air flowing through its ductwork through gaps and cracks in the ducts.
Duct sealing is one of the easiest ways to improve both the energy efficiency and effectiveness of your heating and air conditioning systems. If your ducts aren’t fully sealed, your system will always run more, and your energy bills will always be much higher.
The more frequently your HVAC system runs, the more wear and tear the units will also experience and the shorter they will last. Duct sealing can also help reduce the strain on your system and thus decrease the chances of major repairs and increase the life span of your HVAC units. Now that you know why duct sealing is so important, let’s take a look at some of the different signs that can help you know when you need to have your ductwork resealed.
Higher Energy Costs and Longer Run Times
Increasing energy bills are generally always a sign that there is some issue with your HVAC system, and this could be due to a problem with one of your HVAC units or your ductwork. If you notice that both your heating and cooling bills are much higher throughout the year, it is a fairly good indication that the problem is related to your ductwork.
Another sign that goes hand-in-hand with higher energy bills is if you notice that both your heating and cooling systems are starting to run more frequently and longer than they used to. If only one system is running more, then it is usually related to a problem with your heating or cooling unit. If both systems are running more, it most likely indicates a ductwork issue. The only exception is if you have a heat pump for both heating and cooling as issues with this unit will affect it throughout the year.
Uneven Heating and Cooling
Leaky ductwork also often leads to uneven heating and cooling. Any leaks will lead to an increase in static pressure in the duct system. Static pressure refers to how much resistance there is to the air flowing through the ductwork. The higher the static pressure is, the more the HVAC blower has to work, and the harder it is for the blower to circulate air throughout the building.
High static pressure will usually result in the blower forcing much more air out of the vents that are most centrally located. This results in very little air blowing out of those vents that are further away and thus leading to those rooms often staying too hot or too cold.
Rattling and Whistling Sounds
Damaged, loose or leaking ductwork will also often produce some telltale noises. Hearing a loud rattling noise coming from the ducts themselves or through your vents is often a sign that one or more of the ducts is loose or has started to sag. These noises could also be coming from the blower or furnace, so you’ll want to take a quick tour of your home to see if you can pinpoint exactly where the noise is coming from.
An audible whistling sound whenever your HVAC system is running is a sure sign that your ductwork is leaking. When the blower fan circulates air throughout the ducts, the air will often be forced out of any cracks or gaps with enough force that it creates a loud whistling sound.
Excessive Dust and Air Quality Issues
Any gaps or cracks in your ductwork will allow dust and debris to get inside. If your return air ducts are leaking, all that dust will result in your HVAC air filter becoming dirty and clogged much more quickly. If there are any gaps in the supply ductwork, all of that dust and debris will get circulated throughout the home and blown out of all your vents every time your heating or cooling is running. This will often result in your home starting to be much dustier than usual and also lead to a decrease in indoor air quality. If you notice any of these issues, it is definitely time to have your ductwork inspected and sealed or repaired.
Expert HVAC Services in Las Vegas
At BEST Air Conditioning Plumbing Repair, we specialize in duct sealing, repairs and installation, and we can also assist with all of your heating and cooling maintenance, repair and installation needs. If you’re concerned about your home’s air quality, we also carry a range of indoor air quality equipment to help you breathe more easily. We also offer a range of plumbing services, and our team installs and repairs gas lines, sewer lines, water lines, water heaters and all types of plumbing fixtures. To schedule a ductwork inspection or any other HVAC or plumbing service in Henderson or the Las Vegas area, give us a call today.