The duct system in your home is easy to neglect because as the old adage suggests, what is out of sight is easy to put out of mind. On the other hand, if you do not take steps to maintain your duct system, you can be left paying too much to heat and cool your home. if your HVAC costs seem to be way to high, then it might just be time to inspect your ducts and repair as necessary.
What Causes Ducts to Malfunction?
Two forces act on ducts and cause them to fail: a constant cycle of heating and cooling, and the outward pressure created by the air flowing through the ducts. During the summer, ambient air temperatures will cause your ducts to heat up just to be cooled down whenever your AC unit kicks on. The reverse is true during the winter when ambient temperatures cool the ducts and the air flowing through them heats them. What the constantly fluctuating temperature means is that the metal your ducts are made from is constantly expanding as it heats up, then contracting when it cools back down. This combined with the outward pressure created by the air flowing through your ducts can create leaks, and these leaks will syphon off air before it has a chance to make it to your home. Thus, leaky ducts can reduce your system efficiency by up to 40%.
How to Inspect Your Ducts
If your ducts are enclosed inside the walls of your home, you will have no choice but to call a duct repair company to come to your house and use specialized equipment to inspect and repair your ducts. On the other hand, if you have exposed ducts running through your home's attic or crawlspace, you can inspect them on your own. Simply turn your thermostat to the "fan" position then run a stick of incense over the joints and seams of your ducts. With a permanent makers, mark any place where air escaping from your ducts disturbs the incense smoke.
How to Make Repairs
Once you have marked the leaks in your ducts, you can go back and apply duct mastic with a trowel to seal the leaks. You should be able to buy duct mastic at a home-improvement store. It will come us a thick paste, which will dry when applied to your ducts and create a flexible yet permanent seal.
As long as you have exposed ducts, inspecting and repairing them is not complicated or expensive. On the other hand, even if you have to call someone in like A Absolute Plumbing & Heating to inspect and repair your enclosed ducts, the improved efficiency you gain from properly functioning ducts should more than pay for the cost of making repairs.