Signs Your Air Ducts Need To Be Sealed

People don't think much about the air ducts attached to their HVAC systems until something goes wrong. The truth is the ducts play as much an integral part of your heating and cooling system as the appliances themselves. When your ducts have holes and leaks, your energy bills can skyrocket and your home may struggle to get as warm or cool as you want it. Here's how to tell if your ducts need to be sealed and what can be done about the problem:

Indications of Duct Problems

There are a few signs that your air ducts are troubled. The one you're likely to notice first is high energy bills. Up to 30 percent of the air flowing through the ducts leak out of it, which causes your HVAC unit to run longer and harder to get your home to the set temperature. As a result, your electric bills will typically be higher than normal.

However, it's not usual for people to have no idea they're paying more for energy than they should, since the ducts may have been leaking since they moved into the space. If you're not sure whether you're energy bills are too high, talk to your neighbors about how much they pay every month. Your ducts may be the problem if the amount you pay is significantly more than the others around you.

Other signs your ducts may be in need of service include:

  • Individual rooms that take longer to heat or cool
  • The HVAC system taking more time to cool and heat the space
  • Tangles or kinks in flexible ducts
  • Whistling sounds whenever you pass by exposed ducts
  • Ducts that have been exposed to water (i.e. damage via rusting)
  • Ducts located in the basement, attic, and crawlspaces (these are more likely to suffer damage from water, heat, and other elements)

Fixing Broken Ducts

Patching your ducts can be simple or complex, depending on how your home is set up. If all the ducts in your house are exposed, then it's a simple matter of finding the holes and using a special metallic foil to close the gap. You can find the holes by turning on the HVAC unit and feeling for escaping air. An alternative method is to send fog through your ducts using a fog machine and looking for the telltale white air.

On the other hand, things may be a bit more complex if your ducts are hidden behind walls and above ceilings because you will have to open these spaces to access the ducts. You may want to save those areas for when you do other renovations to the home.

To learn more about this issue or help repairing your ductwork, contact an HVAC repair company like Heatcraft Heating & Cooling.