Ductwork is often an overlooked part of the air conditioning system, but it plays a very important role in its efficiency. If your ducts are not sealed and insulated properly, you could be spending more than you need to on your monthly utility bill.
Here are some of the most common ductwork problems that can impact air conditioner efficiency and tips for improving it and keeping it in good shape.
Poorly Designed or Installed Ductwork Decreases AC Efficiency
Ducts that are poorly designed or installed may not allow enough conditioned air to reach your living spaces. This prevents the AC from cooling your home as desired, which means it must run longer than normal and use more energy just to meet demand. In some cases, leaky ductwork can cause uncomfortable hot spots in certain rooms of the house.
AC replacement experts note that in the summertime, poorly designed or installed ductwork may cause your AC system to dribble cold air out of leaks in the ceiling and walls instead of delivering it where it is needed most: your living spaces.
Such problems are inefficient and uncomfortable because they can lead to hot or cold spots throughout the home. The resulting poor air circulation can also foster the growth of mold and mildew in your home.
Air Pressure Imbalance Causes Poor Air Delivery and Backdrafting
If the air pressure in your ductwork isn’t balanced, it can cause poor air delivery and back-drafting. This happens when heated indoor air tries to escape from the home through the chimney or other openings but is blocked by the outdoor cold air. This causes negative pressure inside the house that pulls conditioned air out of your ducts and vents, resulting in poor air delivery.
On the other hand, if you have positive pressure inside your ductwork (too much-conditioned air), it can also cause back-drafting. The result is that your home may not be warm enough or cool enough to make you comfortable, which means a higher energy bill for you.
Fortunately, you can do a few things to help balance the air pressure in your ductwork and improve your home’s comfort:
- First, make sure all of your registers are open and unobstructed.
- You should also check for any leaks in your ducts or seals around your vents. If you find any, have them fixed as soon as possible.
- Also, make sure your home is properly sealed and insulated to help prevent air leaks from outside sources. If you live in an older home with a chimney or other opening into the attic space, consider closing it off with a chimney balloon (also called an inflatable damper).
- Finally, don’t forget about your air conditioner. Regular maintenance can help keep your unit running efficiently and prevent problems like pressure imbalance.
Poor Sealing and Insulating of Ducts Leads to Higher Energy Costs
If your ducts are not properly sealed and insulated, you could see a significant increase in your energy costs. Duct leakage is caused when conditioned air leaks out of the duct system, and outdoor air enters the system. This causes your air conditioner to work harder and run longer, costing you more money. It is common for poorly insulated or improperly sealed ducts to have a leakage rate of up to 20%.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, sealing and insulating ducts in unconditioned spaces can save homeowners an average of 20% on their energy costs. If you’re experiencing high energy costs, it’s important to have your ducts inspected and sealed by a qualified HVAC technician. Contact your local HVAC company for more information on how to improve the efficiency of your ductwork.
Dirty Ductwork Can Cause Your AC To Break Down Prematurely
Dirty ductwork is one of the leading causes of air conditioner breakdowns. When your ducts are clogged with dirt, dust, and other debris, it can prevent your AC from cooling your home properly. Not only will this cause your AC to break down prematurely, but it can also lead to an increase in your energy bills as your system works harder to cool your home.
If you want to keep your AC in good working order, you must clean out the ductwork at least twice per year. You can do this yourself with a handheld vacuum and brush attachment or have it professionally cleaned by an HVAC technician. Also, consider having an air filter installed in your home’s ductwork, as this will help remove any allergens or pollutants that may be circulating through the air inside of it.
Get Your Ductwork Inspected
It’s important to get your ductwork inspected and cleaned regularly to ensure that your air conditioner runs as efficiently as possible. Neglecting this maintenance can lead to decreased performance and more frequent repairs. Contact an HVAC contractor today to schedule an inspection of your ductwork for a healthier home and lower costs.
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