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Ductwork Trouble: Pay Attention To These Clues

Last updated 4 years ago

By Greg, Pacific Aire Comfort Advisor,

Are the ducts in your home leaking out conditioned air without you knowing? Your ducts, hidden from sight, can become one of the biggest energy wasters in your home if you have unresolved ductwork trouble. Most experts agree that ductwork leaks can contribute to significant energy losses, as well as poor home comfort, and cause homeowners to pay more in energy costs than they should.

How do you know if your ducts are losing air and wasting energy? Look for these five signs of ductwork trouble:

  1. Ducts without insulation in unconditioned areas. Ducts that weave through an attic, a crawl space or any other area that doesn't receive heating or cooling should be insulated to prevent unnecessary energy loss.
  2. A draft in your ductwork. If you feel air blowing through areas where ducts join together, you likely have a disconnected duct. If a shoddy installer or previous homeowner used duct tape to join the pipes, the ducts are likely to become loose or disconnected over time. They will need to be resealed with mastic sealant, which is much more efficient than duct tape.  
  3. Dirt and soot on insulation, which could mean that outside air is leaking into your ducts somewhere. Look for damage, such as a large tear or a disconnected duct, that might be bringing in outside air.
  4. Rooms that are always colder -- or hotter -- than the rest of your home. Put your hand up to the register of these rooms and see if you can feel air coming in. If not, ask an inspector to check for dead-end ducts. A dead-end duct ends abruptly, never reaching its destination. This is a serious error that can happen during installation.
  5. Unexplained high energy bills. Bad ductwork design can result in an unbalanced duct system, with more supply ducts than return ducts, which may ultimately cause your heating and cooling system to work harder and consume more energy. A technician can install additional return ducts to balance your ductwork.

If you suspect that your home might have any of the above ductwork troubles, contact us at Pacific Aire Heating & Cooling to request that a technician conduct a thorough inspection of your ductwork. We have proudly served the areas of northern Santa Barbara and western LA County since 1990.

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