he ductwork in your home carries a heavy load — the heating and cooling load, which is that precisely calculated amount of heat energy that must be delivered to, or removed from your living spaces to keep them comfortable winter and summer. However, in the average home, about 30 percent of conditioned air conveyed by ducts ends up in the attic, crawl space, inside walls or somewhere else you really don’t want to be heating or cooling. And that is just the air leaking out of aging ductwork. Leaky ducts also suck unfiltered air into the system, circulating potentially contaminated air throughout your entire house.
Leaky ductwork offers few opportunities for DIY maintenance. In most homes, the ducts are routed through inaccessible areas, and most duct problems occur out of sight. There are a few ways you can examine your ductwork.
Wherever you can, visually examine ducts for major leaks such as disconnected spans, loose elbow joints, and diffusers that appear slack, or rust or corrosion that causes pinhole leaks. Look for signs like streaks of dust radiating from joints that indicate air leaks.
Turn off the system. Remove the grille from a supply vent in each room. Holding a digital camera, reach as far as you can into the vent and take a flash photograph or two. Examine the photos from each room for evidence of duct deterioration. Also, look for accumulation of dust and dirt, anything that looks like mold, or any evidence of vermin infestation.
Call your HVAC professional for anything that concerns you. A qualified HVAC technician can perform a duct pressure test with technology that accurately calculates the extent of leakage. He will also be able to identify the source(s) of leaks and properly seal joints with mastic and foil tape, or inject aerosol sealant into the interior of the ducts to seal pinhole leaks. By utilizing access ports and disconnecting segments at strategic locations, the technician can also thoroughly inspect the entire span of ductwork assess the need for professional duct cleaning.
For more on ductwork repair and cleaning, or any other HVAC service, contact Goose Creek Heating & Air at 888-880-1131.
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