Why Tight Ductwork is Important
Sooner or later, most ductwork leaks. In many cases, residential ductwork simply isn’t designed and fabricated to last the life of the home. U.S. Department of Energy surveys show that household ducts routinely leak as much as 30% of the heated and cooled air they are supposed to be circulating through your living spaces. However, since most of the duct network is installed out of sight, homeowners are typically unaware of the gradual deterioration of ducts. Here’s why tight ductwork is important:
- Duct leakage costs you money. According to the Department of Energy, ductwork leakage can cost you hundreds of dollars a year in higher heating and cooling costs. That’s because conditioned air escaping from deteriorating supply ducts usually leaks into unconditioned zones—inside walls, up in the attic, down in the crawl space— where it contributes nothing to household comfort. To compensate for this lost heat or cooling, your furnace or air conditioner must run longer cycles. This usually results in gradually increasing utility bills.
- Duct leakage degrades indoor air quality. Return ducts that convey air back to the furnace or air conditioner are under slightly negative air pressure. Instead of leaking air out, leaks in return ducts often suck air into the ductwork. This air may originate from zones where air quality is tainted such as the attic, crawl space or inside wall voids. Unhealthy particulates, mold spores and other airborne contaminants may be spread throughout the house.
How Much Is Too Much?
The only way to tell if you ducts are leaking—and exactly how much—is to schedule a duct inspection and pressure test by a qualified HVAC contractor. This can precisely quantify the percentage of leakage relative to total airflow volume. If leakage exceeds local code standards or Department of Energy recommendations, your contractor can discuss duct sealing options to restore full efficiency.
At Sobieski Services, Inc., our goal is to help our customers in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey learn more about energy and home comfort issues — especially HVAC and plumbing issues — so that they can save money and live in healthier, more comfortable homes.