Why is it important to have the ductwork for my AC/Heating system inspected?

A:

Even though your ductwork is out of sight, it shouldn’t be out of mind because it’s an integral part of your AC system. Your indoor comfort and home’s energy efficiency could be significantly affected if your ductwork isn’t working the way it should.

For example, conditioned air (air that has already been heated or cooled) flows to your registers through supply ducts. If these ducts are leaky, some of this air will escape, never making it to your rooms. Instead, you’ll end up wasting money by cooling or heating places that don’t need it…like your attic.

Return ducts circulate and return the air back to your AC equipment. If leaky, these ducts can pull in dust, mold spores and other contaminants from unconditioned spaces…like the attic. This can affect your home’s air quality and aggravate allergy problems. And, if it’s humid outside? Leaky return ducts can also draw in moisture, making your home feel clammy or cause moisture issues.

This isn’t an isolated situation. The Department of Energy estimates that a typical home’s duct system leaks about 20 to 30 percent of its conditioned air. Another statistic says ducts that leak just 20 percent of the air passing through them can cause your AC system to work 50 percent harder.

Another issue we see when doing energy audits or installing new AC systems is ductwork that is poorly designed or installed incorrectly. We’ve seen ductwork that has holes, is disconnected or has even worked loose from registers because it wasn’t sealed well in the first place or the sealant degraded. Sometimes, the ducts are tangled, kinked or crushed which restricts air flow. This not only reduces the efficiency of your AC system, but also can damage your equipment over the long run.

That’s why it’s a good idea to have ductwork inspected every few years by a professional who can find and fix any problems. Usually, it’s just a matter of sealing, which is a relatively inexpensive repair, especially when you consider the benefits of having a better functioning duct system.

Helping to lower your bills through improved energy efficiency is important to us, which is why we check any visible ducts as part of our free energy audits. We also offer a formal inspection service of visible ductwork through GVEC Home. This service includes sealing minor leaks and an estimate if repairs are needed for major leaks or problems.

Attic ductwork is an important component of any air conditioning and heating system for enhanced comfort, indoor air quality and energy efficiency. One way to find inefficiencies is by using an infrared (IR) camera to “see” temperature variations in a home. The IR photo, above, shows how cold, conditioned air (purple color) can leak from ducts into a hot, unconditioned attic.

For more information, call one of our Member Services Advisors at 800.223.4832.

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