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Duct System Issues Are Likely Dragging Efficiency Down: Here's How To Tell

November 29, 2012 | Blog

You may have the most energy-efficient HVAC system on the market. But if your ductwork isn’t healthy, that efficiency might be going to waste. Duct system issues can cause all sorts of problems with your home comfort system. Fortunately, there are a few easy ways to spot ductwork problems. Here are three signs to watch for when considering duct system issues:

  1. Ducts aren’t properly insulated. As soon as air leaves your HVAC equipment, it begins to lose its coolness (or warmth when heating). The more energy it loses, the more energy your HVAC system has to expend to cool or heat your home. Ductwork insulation helps guard against this, keeping cool air cool and warm air warm until it reaches your vents. But sometimes insulation isn’t installed, or is installed poorly. Contractors sometimes pull insulation too tight around the duct, making it less effective. Insulation should be snug, but with room to breathe. Insulation is especially important on ducts running through unconditioned areas such as garages or attics.
  2. Ducts have holes, tears, gaps or other damage. Air leaks in ductwork can cause energy losses of up to 30 percent. If air is leaking from your ducts, that air isn’t reaching where you want it to go, and your HVAC system has to work harder to compensate for it. This not only wastes energy, it also puts undue stress on your equipment, which can damage it and ultimately shorten its lifespan. Check your ductwork thoroughly to make sure there’s no visible damage.
  3. Ducts have been repaired with duct tape. Sometimes fixing duct system issues can lead to further problems. Duct tape, despite its name, isn’t an effective way to repair ducts. It loses its adhesiveness fairly quickly, particularly on a dirty or dusty surface. It then begins to come up, allowing air to leak out from underneath it, while still looking like it’s sealed. If you have duct tape on your ducts, remove it and seal leaks instead with metal tape or mastic sealant.

For more repair tips and other heating and cooling advice, talk to our experts at CCAC, Inc. We’ve been constantly concerned about customers’ home comfort needs on the Coastal Bend for more than 30 years.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Corpus Christi, Texas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about duct system issues and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

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