The heating and air conditioning of a household are facilitated by a sophisticated system that goes beyond just an indoor unit and an outdoor unit. A network of ducts and vents is responsible for distributing either hot or cold air to various rooms. When problems arise, it is common to blame faulty equipment, but the source of the issue could actually be coming from the ductwork. Detecting leaks across ducts can be difficult, as they are often concealed. Here are several signs of leaky air ducts to watch out for.
Signs Your HVAC Air Ducts Are Leaking
- 1 Signs Your HVAC Air Ducts Are Leaking
- 2 How To Locate Leaks In Your HVAC Ductwork
- 3 Call PFO Heating & Air Conditioning For Effective Heating Solutions
Here are the most common tell-tale signs that you have an HVAC ductwork leak.
Increase In Utility Bills
The leaks in HVAC ductwork result in wasted efforts of furnaces and air conditioners. Instead of being directed to the occupied rooms, hot and cold air escapes to undesirable areas like the attic, storage rooms, and other unoccupied areas. Maintaining desired temperatures become more challenging, leading to increased energy consumption. Homeowners may notice this issue through their steadily rising utility bills despite consistent usage. Ignoring this problem can prove to be financially detrimental.
Visible Dust Accumulation in the Home
Air leaks don’t just redirect air to unintended areas. They can also dislodge hidden dust deposits in your home and spread them into open spaces. If you are experiencing an increase in dust in your living room and bedrooms without any changes in household habits, it may be the cause. The accumulation of dust can be harmful to the health of your family, causing allergies, asthma, and other respiratory problems.
Uneven Heating And Cooling
As you move from one room to another, you may notice a significant temperature difference between the areas. This could indicate a problem with your central air system, as it should be able to distribute conditioned air throughout the space evenly. For instance, HVAC ductwork leaks may result in colder air near the leaky ducts while other rooms receive less cooling. This clearly indicates that something is amiss and should not be ignored. Those occupying the affected areas may try to adjust the thermostat, but the situation will only improve once the ductwork leaks are repaired.
Other Negative Impacts on Indoor Air Quality
Ductwork leaks can also spread toxic fumes throughout your home, posing a health risk to its occupants. This can occur when the outdoor air or air from the basement is drawn into the house. If chemicals such as pesticides or thinners are stored in these areas, your family could inhale their fumes without realizing it. If you detect any strong odors, it is crucial to investigate immediately, as this could be the source of the problem.
HVAC System Requires Frequent Repairs
Frequent breakdowns of older HVAC systems are common, but it is surprising when it occurs in a relatively new system that’s only been in use for a few years. Well-maintained new HVAC units can last for over a decade. Leaky air ducts can increase the workload on the system and cause wear and tear, leading to equipment failure. Prompt attention to this issue can prevent such problems from arising.
How To Locate Leaks In Your HVAC Ductwork
Here are different strategies to find the source of the leak:
Inspect Ductwork for Tears
Examine the duct system for any openings or rips. Utilize a grease pencil to highlight the problem areas so they can be easily located when it is time for repairs. You may be surprised by the extent of the issue that has been deteriorating over the years.
Switch Your HVAC Unit On Full Blast
If you are struggling to detect leaks, activate the HVAC system at full capacity to circulate conditioned air throughout the house. This will make detecting noticeable temperature fluctuations near the duct tears easier. With this method, you can locate most, if not all, of the leaks.
Examine The Duct Joints
The joints in the ducts are typically vulnerable areas. If they are not properly sealed, it is common for leaks to occur around them. Gently run your hand over these joints and check if you can feel any cold air escaping. Repeat this process at any location where you suspect a leak.
Remove Any Duct Tape
If you purchased your home from a previous owner, it might be worth checking for the presence of any duct tape. They might have used this as a temporary solution to earlier leaks. Removing these tapes and having a professional HVAC technician perform a lasting solution is advisable.
To make the leaks visible, you can use incense or any other type of colorful smoke. Affected areas around the duct will cause the smoke to move differently, making it easy to identify the locations of the leaks. This is a helpful technique for detecting small leaks that may not be easily noticeable with just your hands.
Seal The Leaks
After thoroughly examining the situation, it is time to fix the ducts one by one. However, it is advisable to leave this task to a skilled HVAC technician to ensure the leaks don’t occur again. Technicians have the expertise to use long-lasting seals and can even detect leaks that you might have overlooked during your inspection. Their comprehensive evaluation will result in a more effective solution.
Use a Fog Machine
After sealing all of the ductwork leaks, you can use a fog machine to inspect the ducts. This method is effective in revealing any remaining holes and rips. It is best to perform this test after most of the larger holes have been sealed, as it will not fill the attic and basement with excessive smoke. However, I highly recommend having a professional HVAC contractor conduct the inspection. They have the expertise and the proper tools to locate leaks accurately. They also have the knowledge and experience on the most effective ways to fix leaky HVAC ducts, ensuring optimal performance of your system.
Some methods may be more effective in certain circumstances than others. A skilled HVAC technician has the expertise to determine which techniques to employ and when to use them. They will meticulously search for all the problematic areas to ensure your home has adequately sealed ducts. As a result, you can enjoy reduced energy costs, consistent temperatures, decreased repair and maintenance needs, prolonged system lifespan, and improved indoor air quality.
Call PFO Heating & Air Conditioning For Effective Heating Solutions
For reliable heating and cooling services in the greater Hamilton, New Jersey area, look no further than PFO Heating & Air Conditioning. Our team of certified technicians is fully qualified and highly trained to provide top-notched HVAC replacements, installations, repairs, and tune-ups. Our technicians have the experience, skills, and knowledge to service your HVAC system accurately. We are dedicated to offering practical solutions to enhance air quality, system efficiency, and comfort.
We pride ourselves on offering the most cost-effective HVAC services in the area. Our maintenance services can not only extend the lifespan of your HVAC system but also reduce your heating and cooling bills. If you require an HVAC repair or replacement, we are happy to provide recommendations that fit your budget and home needs. All of our work is guaranteed for your satisfaction and peace of mind. Schedule a service appointment now and receive a free in-home estimate by calling PFO Heating & Air Conditioning.