how to tell if air ducts are leaking? Here are 5 Signs

When was the last time you thought about your ductwork? Out of sight, out of mind, right? What if we told you that leaky ductwork might be causing a number of heating efficiency, energy cost, and air quality problems in your home?

Out of sight, out of mind

Your home’s ductwork is generally out of sight, out of mind, right? Why would you worry about the ducts that transport air from the furnace or air conditioner to the various rooms in your house?

Let’s think about that for a minute.

These ducts are the pathways taken by the air you and your family breathe in. Anything contained in your ductwork or vents is also likely to be in that very same air. Whether it’s before temperature conditioning or after, anything that your air passes through is likely to be picked up and delivered for human or animal consumption. That means, contaminants, bacteria, allergens – even viruses.

Your home is your sanctuary. The air that you breathe in it should be as clean and healthy as possibly. Leaky ducts are one of the leading sources of airborne contaminants in your home.

That’s what you and your family are breathing in. Yes, even if you change your furnace filter regularly. They can only do so much.

What else?

Well, the amount of air that flows through your ductwork and the number of unplanned points of entry or exit for that air can affect how hard your system is working – and how much you’re paying for the utilities that power it.  According to HVAC industry authority ASHRAE, duct leakage occurs in 75% of all buildings.

Now that we have your attention, we’re bringing this up because it’s time for Spring Cleaning – including Spring Maintenance and Cleaning Tune-Ups for your air conditioner or evaporative cooler. And that is the perfect opportunity to assess, clean, and repair your ductwork.

How do I know if my ducts need work?

Essentially, there are five primary symptoms of dirty and/or leaky ducts inside the home:

  • Do you experience drafts in some rooms? Contrary to popular belief, research shows that only 20% of air loss goes through old or poorly sealed windows and doors. If you feel a draft somewhere, that’s a sign of air leakage.
  • Are you seeing more dust build-up on your household surfaces? Finding more dust in your home can mean your ductwork is both dirty and leaky. If your ducts have dirt, dust, and grime built up inside them, all that gunk is coming out in the air your system is delivering to your various rooms. AND, that dust and dirt are getting INTO your system from someplace it shouldn’t be. This is also a sign of leaks, breaks, cracks, or holes in your duct system.
  • Feeling sneezy? If you’re sneezing more often or experiencing other signs of allergies, that can be a sign of leaky ductwork. Allergens and other contaminants enter the air the same way as the dust and grime do, through improper openings – or leaks – in your duct system.
If you are experiencing the following things, you might have leaky ductwork: sneezing more frequently; hot in one room and cold in another; dust, dust everywhere; and spiking utility bills.
  • Do some of the rooms in your house feel warmer or cooler than others? This is an indication that conditioned air is not getting to where it’s meant to go. It’s likely exiting the system through a leak or leaks, somewhere else along the way.
  • Are your energy bills suddenly spiking? Higher heating costs are an indicator that your system is using more energy to disperse conditioned air to the places you need it. That’s because the air is exiting the system in places it shouldn’t – again, through leaks.
There are also symptoms of duct leakage outside the home:

The most obvious symptoms are the ones that are visible to the naked eye. Start with a visual inspection of the outside of your home. Look for places with exposed insulation or where interior wall structure is visible – places like the point at which the siding meets the foundation, brick, or chimney.  Also consider places that are missing siding and exterior corners. Make sure the area around outdoor faucets, gas and water pipes, and electrical lines are properly caulked to prevent leaks.

The most important point is not what you would think it is.
The greatest cause of air loss in your home is not what you think it is (usually, windows and doors.) The most air is actually lost through your attic and the ductwork that passes through it.

A common assumption is that air usually escapes through old or improperly sealed windows and doors. BUT – the source of the most air leakage is actually the attic floor and the ductwork that passes through it. Thus, you should check the sealing around the plumbing and electrical vents that pass through the attic floor. You can also run your hand along visible ductwork to see if you can feel air leaking out. This is especially common in places where two pieces of ductwork meet.

Most of the ductwork in your home will be inside the walls, and not easily accessed – if it can be accessed at all. However, an HVAC professional like All American Heating can test your ductwork for leaks using technology. Infrared, pressure, or smoke testing are the most popular methods.

Now is the time.

If you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms of leaky ductwork, Spring is the perfect time to get your ducts cleaned, sanitized, and sealed – all as part of your spring cleaning process. Having a professional clean and sanitize your ductwork means you’ll get all that dust, dirt, and grime out of the duct system. Then, your HVAC technician can spray a sanitizer into the system that will kill bacteria, viruses, allergens, and other contaminants that can have an effect on your family’s health and well-being.

A professional duct cleaning, sanitization, and sealing with Aeroseal Duct Sealing from the Inside can change so much about your home, making it efficient, and providing cleaner air for you and your family.

Finally, sealing your ductwork means plugging up all the leaks, and preventing most of those problems from getting back in once they are cleaned out. Aeroseal Duct Sealing from the Inside uses an aerosol sealant that your professional technician sprays into your ductwork. The adhesive sealant finds the leaks and gathers at their edges until they are completely sealed, preventing anything from getting back in. Once the leaks in your system are identified, they can be sealed with Aeroseal to leave everything in peak performance condition as the warm weather arrives.

Get comfortable with warmer weather.
Having your ductwork treated and repaired can make a huge difference in the air quality in your home, and help your home HVAC systems run more efficiently.

This process is a great way to reduce dust, end drafts, and even out the temperatures in your home’s rooms. It also helps to eliminate the bacteria and other airborne contaminants that can cause allergies to spike and your family to feel not so great. In addition, you’ll live greener and save money on heating bills.

Call (720) 547-3647 now to schedule a Spring Maintenance Tune-up for your air conditioner or evaporative cooler.

At the same time, you can also get a professional duct cleaning and sanitization. And, finally, your HVAC technician can check for leaks using infrared technology or even a simple smoke test to make invisible air visible. Then you can actually see duct leakage!

Don’t wait for pollen season. Make your home as airtight as possible and avoid the annual misery.

1 thought on “Does Your Home Have Duct Leakage? Here Are Five Signs”

  1. Great blog thanks for sharing. Regular maintenance of your HVAC System is very important. you’ll save a lot of money and you’ll even avoid the hassle it can cause in the future. Hope to see more blog like this in the future.

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