Â Heated or cooled air circulates through your air conditioning ductwork to all the areas of your home to keep you comfortable. If air leaks out of the ductwork anywhere along the line, it can create problems for you: a system that has to work harder to reach the temperature settings on your thermostat, an uncomfortably cold or hot home environment, and higher utility bills.
An air conditioning system that is constantly running to match thermostat settings will need repairs more frequently, and it will wear out sooner. Leaky air ducts pull in dust, debris, and other particles from your attic and send them blowing through the vents into your roomsâ€”resulting in diminished air quality in your home. If there is a hole or crack in an air duct leading to a particular room, that space will have hot or cold spots which make the room feel as if it is not being heated (or cooled) at all.
Leaky air ducts can lower the efficiency of your system by as much as 20-40% and that means higher energy bills as well. It doesnâ€™t matter how good your HVAC system is if the duct system supporting it is not functioning as it should.
What to do?
Unlike a leaky water pipe where the dripping water is visible, a leaky air duct can be more difficult to find, especially since part of it may be concealed in areas you cannot reach. Should you have your air ducts cleaned?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), there are no studies that prove health problems can be prevented by air duct cleaning. But your HVAC system will work more efficiently if there is good airflow in your duct system. If you have done extensive remodeling inside your home, generating a great amount of dust, it might be a good idea to have your ductwork cleaned, but, otherwise, it is not necessary to do so any more often than once every five years. If you are experiencing some of the problems mentioned earlier in this article; however, and your ductwork has been in place for a long time or has never been checked, it would be wise to have it evaluated.
A certified HVAC professional can evaluate and test your ductwork to diagnose any airflow problems that you may have. He can seal or add insulation to the ductwork depending on the problems he may find or advise you if the ductwork needs to be replaced.
Visit the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) to see a residential checklist of NADCAâ€™s recommendations for what the air duct cleaning process should involve. You can also find NADCA-certified air systems cleaning specialists here. A person who is not qualified (or certified) to clean ductwork can do more damage to your system than having nothing done at all.