Homeowners often underestimate just how important the “V” part of their HVAC system is–it stands for ventilation, and it means your systems’ ductwork! The air ducts are responsible for distributing the air-conditioned or heated air that comes from your heater or air conditioner and delivering it to the various rooms in your home that need it.
Damaged, dirty, or otherwise compromised ductwork can lead to a number of problems. It can impact your comfort as it affects your HVAC system’s ability to do its job, your indoor air quality, and yes, your home efficiency. Efficiency refers to how well energy is consumed by your home. The more efficient something is, the less it will cost you to operate, so the goal is to have really efficient HVAC systems, especially since they account for about half of your home’s entire energy use.
So, what makes an efficient duct system? Read on to learn!
The Signs of an Efficient Duct System
An efficient duct system will have no tears or leaks in it. It will be clean, and it will have been professionally installed to avoid problems like loose joints or even disconnected joints. It will be able to keep up with the demands of your air conditioner and/or heater, and reliably deliver the amount of heated or cooled air it’s supposed to.
How Is Duct Efficiency Actually Tested?
Well, our first, short, answer to this is… by a pro! Only a trained, experienced, and qualified HVAC professional should be allowed to work with anything related to your furnace, air conditioner, or heat pump. We say this for safety reasons as well as system functionality. If anything were to go amiss, our professionals are properly licensed and insured to deal with any problems that come up.
The way our professionals test the efficiency of your ductwork is by sealing off the ventilation system and changing the air pressure inside the ductwork. This pressure change allows us to see how airtight the ventilation system is so it’s also a duct leakage test, as well. We can see how efficient your ducts are, and recommend improvements if they could be more efficient.
Duct leakage can account for as much as 30% of air loss from your heater and air conditioning systems–this is the air that you’re paying for, that’s never actually reaching the inside of your home. As a result, you won’t be as comfortable as you want to be, so you’ll probably adjust your thermostat to compensate, but then you’re just wasting more conditioned air.
And Then What?
So let’s say that we find that your air ducts do have tears or holes in them then there are a few options:
Duct Repair: This is typically best for instances of disconnected joints or large tears where you might need just a small portion of your ductwork replaced.
Duct Sealing: Duct sealing is when our team goes in and uses a special mastic to seal up smaller tears or holes in the ductwork.
Duct Replacement: If your ductwork is so far gone that duct sealing or duct repair won’t help much, we may recommend that you have your ductwork system replaced to get that HVAC system efficiency back to where it should be.