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Heating & Air News

How to Find Leaks in a Residential Air Duct System

Posted by Howell's Heating & Air on February 27, 2017

HVAC Duct ProblemsIf your HVAC system has leaks, you could be throwing money out the window, month after month, year after year. In fact, some studies have shown that HVAC leaks are to blame for as much as 25% of all lost heat.

Aside from the wasted energy, leaky air ducts force an HVAC or forced air furnace to work harder than they would otherwise have to work in order to keep a space cool or hot. That extra strain will ruin a system’s overall efficiency, can increase energy bills, and will likely take years off the life of your equipment.

How Does One Find Leaks in Residential Duct Work?

The easiest way to figure out if you have leaks in your duct work is to hire an HVAC technician to inspect your system. But, before you call, there are a few very simple, tell-tale signs that can help indicate leaky air ducts might be a problem.

  • Cold Spots or Temperature Fluctuations throughout the House
  • Unusually High Energy Bills
  • Sudden Spikes in Energy Use
  • System Always Seems to Be Running
  • Your Attic or crawlspace seems warmer (or cooler) than it should

HVAC Ductwork.jpgIf you suspect there could be leaks in your ductwork, it might be worth investigating the issue further. These same issues could be the result of insulation problems, system or thermostat malfunction, clogged intake filters, and a number of other issues, so be sure not to jump to any conslusions.

Causes for Leaky Ductwork

If your ductwork is 30 or 40 years old, new problems can certainly appear over time. Things break down, metal rusts, and houses settle. Occasionally, mice or squirrels will chew through things. Moving around heavy furniture in an attic could unexpectedly puncture into ductwork. Any number of things might cause leaks in the ductwork of a home over the years.

Or the problem could date back to when the system was originally installed, or be the result of something that wasn't attached correctly during a home addition.

Here's an example of a home we came across with a major air duct problem:

We received a complaint about a side porch vent that didn’t appear to be blowing air. When we entered the crawlspace of the house, the problem was as clear as day. A sunporch had been refinished about 15 years earlier, and the HVAC company or contractor had failed to attach ductwork to the vent. So, air had been blowing directly into the crawlspace of that home for years.

It was quite easy to fix this problem by adding in the missing piece of ductwork.

Howells HVAC System.jpgProfessional Testing for Leaky Ducts

Most HVAC companies have a special fan that can test for leaks. If you’re suspicious that ducts might be leaking, consider bringing in a professional to pinpoint the problem areas and fix the issue. You’ll want to be sure your HVAC contractor does this same test after sealing up all the leaky ductwork. You don't want unnoticed problem areas to get overlooked.

How to Fix Leaky Ducts

Leaky residential air ducts are usually a pretty easy fix. If your HVAC technician identifies leaks, it’s just a matter of sealing those leaks up with the appropriate materials. Depending on the severity of the leaks, the cost of repairing leaky air ducts is usually pretty reasonable as well.

Fix Leaky Ducts in Your Richmond Home

If you’re thinking hiring someone to inspect your ductwork or need to repair leaky ducts, consider contacting Howell’s Heating and Air. We can offer suggestions that will improve air flow, help keep more heat (or cold air) in your home, and discover/fix potential problem areas.

We can also help you with all your HVAC needs by rendering the best AC repair and installation services in the Richmond area, including reliable HVAC services in Midlothian, Mechanicsville, Lakeside, and beyond. 

Check out our Free eBook for more tips on how to extend the life of HVAC equipment.

extend life of hvac

Topics: air ducts, hvac

Serving greater Richmond, VA

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