The duct system in your home is an often overlooked collection of tubes that are the vehicle of distributing controlled air into the rooms of your home to either heat or cool the environment. This system can make a massive difference in both cost and efficiency of how your home is warmed and cooled.
There are three key reasons in regard to the notion that you should in fact be paying a bit more attention to your duct system:
- Protect your health: Leakage in the duct system can most certainly be hazardous to your health depending on what’s leaking and what said leaks in the ducts are doing to compromise other areas of your heating and cooling system, causing pressure within your home that can pull hazardous gases, etc.
- Improve your comfort: Isn’t this why you install a heating and cooling system to begin with? Why not allow it to run effectively and efficiently?
- Save money: Because who doesn’t like to keep a little more green in their wallet?
A recent Department of Energy study states, “typical duct systems lose 25 to 40 percent of the energy put out by the central furnace, heat pump or air conditioner.”
This wasted energy increases your monthly utility bills and causes hot and cold spots. It’s not uncommon to find that over a third of the heating or cooling you pay for doesn’t make it to your living area. Duct problems are often the real reason an old system can’t keep up. The equipment was the right size for the home, but the ducts wasted much of the energy that was created. There are four key duct problems that must be investigated and resolved. Research studies have found that over 90% of duct systems have two or more of these problems:
- Unlike large commercial buildings, most residential duct systems were never engineered or adjusted to properly distribute the air where it’s needed in the home. This makes some rooms too hot or too cold.
- Duct systems often have hidden restrictions and design errors that choke the airflow through the equipment. This reduces the heating or cooling produced by the unit, and often causes premature equipment failure. With furnaces, low airflow can create a dangerous fire hazard. Installing an even larger new furnace or air conditioner on the existing undersized duct work makes the problem worse. A recent electric utility study found that over two-thirds of residential systems have restricted airflow.
- Ductwork that passes through unconditioned spaces like attics, garages, crawlspaces or basements often doesn’t have enough insulation. In winter, your just heated warm air cools down, and in summer the air conditioned air warms up as it passes through these spaces.
- In many duct systems, the single biggest problem is that they leak incredible amounts of air.