If you have forced-air heating and cooling, your system uses a series of ducts to deliver heated or cooled air to the living space. While you may already know it's important to have your furnace and air-conditioning unit serviced regularly, you may not be aware that ducts need attention, too. Without regular maintenance and repair, the ducts in your home can drastically affect the system's efficiency and effectiveness. If you've been neglecting your ducts, check out these three reasons why you have them inspected and repaired.
1. Reduce Heat Loss and Heat Gain
A lot of the ducts in your home don't experience heat loss or gain. For example, many ducts in the floor of your upstairs bedroom are in the walls and floors of heated/cooled rooms, so the hot air inside the ducts stays hot and the cool air stays cool. Unfortunately, some ducts don't run through temperature-controlled rooms. These include ducts in the attic, unfinished basement, garage, crawlspace, etc.
When air runs through these ducts, heat may be lost or gained. During the summer, you may be blasting your AC, but as the cold air runs through ducts in the hot attic, the ambient temperature heats the air inside the duct. When it reaches you, it's warmer than you'd like, so you are forced to use more energy to reach a comfortable temperature.
The best way to counteract heat loss and heat gain is by maintaining ducts, especially those in nontemperature-controlled rooms. For example, some ducts may need special insulation and frequent repairs or maintenance to ensure no leaks form.
2. Correct Gaps and Holes
The ducts come in segments that are connected together. Poor installation may result in some gaps or holes between the segments. Wear and tear can also cause gaps and holes, and damage may create punctures, tears, etc. According to Energy Star, it's estimated that about 20 to 30 percent of the air inside the ducts is lost due to holes in the system.
The best way to fix these holes is to seal them with mastic sealant or metal tape. You may be able to do this yourself on exposed ducts, such as those in the attic. However, if you are still experiencing high energy bills and limited effectiveness, you may need a professional to repair or replace any damaged ducts in walls, ceilings, or floors.
3. Improve Indoor Air Quality
Lastly, when you have your duct system inspected, you can request a cleaning. Overtime, dust and debris collects in the ducts, and these irritants can be expelled into your living space, reducing indoor air quality. This can make it more difficult to breathe, but it may be more serious for people with allergies or breathing disorders. If you have pests, unpleasant odors or chemicals may enter the breathing air.
When the dust and debris starts to cover the walls of the ducts, it's not just your indoor air that suffers. The grime on the duct walls narrows the pathway through which heated and cooled air must travel. To make up for this, the system has to work harder to push the air through the narrowed pathway, which wears down the system faster, so you have to pay for more frequent repairs or even a total replacement of the furnace or AC unit.
It's easy to neglect your ducts because they are out of sight. However, just like you maintain your furnace and air-conditioner, you need to have your ducts regularly cleaned and inspected for damage. With great ducts, you can turn an inefficient forced-air system into an effective and efficient one that saves you money.
For more information regarding duct repair, contact us at Precision Heating & Cooling today.