The function of the air ducts branching out from your HVAC system is to distribute conditioned air to every room in your home. Old age, a loose connection between duct segments, external damage by rodents that found their way into the ducts, and other factors can contribute to leaks forming. Leaks compromise the airflow from your HVAC system, and the diminished airflow can lead to a host of issues. These issues will directly affect your indoor air quality, energy efficiency, comfort levels, and more.

The good news is that there are telltale signs of leaky ducts, so you will know to schedule a professional inspection and early intervention.

1. A Spike in Utility Bills

Leaky ducts allow a significant percentage of conditioned air to escape into the basement and attic instead of going to your living space, where it is needed. This loss puts stress on your HVAC system, forcing it to work harder to maintain comfort in your home. With your system running continuously, it will consume more energy, driving up your utility bills.

Fixing leaky ducts is one of the most cost-effective ways to improve your home’s energy efficiency. Hiring a professional team that will get the job done is an investment. What you spend on professional ductwork sealing and repairs will quickly recoup in energy savings within a relatively short time. This is especially true if you run the HVAC system in your home regularly.

2. Hot and Cold Spots

Leaks in your ductwork will cause an uneven distribution of conditioned air throughout your home. You will notice a difference in temperature from one room to the next. This uneven distribution happens because air leaks in your ductwork leave your HVAC without enough air pressure to heat and cool all areas of your home effectively.

If the problem is localized and you only notice the hot and cold spots in one room, it is safe to assume that the air leak is affecting only that part of your duct network. If you have cold and hot spots throughout the system, the air leakage may be more extensive.

3. No Heating or Cooling in Some Areas

Depending on the location and severity of the problem, air leaks can prevent conditioned air from reaching certain rooms in your home. In these extreme cases, you are not looking at uneven heating and cooling. Rather, leaky ducts may be the culprit if you are having trouble achieving a comfortable temperature even after adjusting the thermostat multiple times.

4. Dust Deposits in Your Home

Air ducts are hidden out of sight in spaces such as attics and crawl spaces. These spaces can be pretty dusty. If you have a leak in your air ducts, the dust will enter your HVAC system and get circulated throughout your living spaces.

Dust from the unconditioned areas that find their way into your home can significantly affect your indoor air quality. This can make your space uncomfortable for all the members of your household. Poor air quality due to dust can also trigger allergic reactions and expose your family to various respiratory conditions.

Dust can make surfaces throughout your home unsightly. You no doubt spend a great deal of time and effort trying to keep things clean. HVAC technicians can seal leaks and clean your ductwork to reduce this dust accumulation.

5.Other Decreases in Indoor Air Quality

In addition to dust, leaks in your ductwork can also help introduce and spread fumes that will affect indoor air quality. If you have a moisture and water damage issue in your basement, the air leaks will quickly spread the damp and musty smell to your living spaces. While the smell will be a constant reminder to get your water damage problems fixed, it can also make your living spaces less comfortable.

The basement is a common place for storing pesticides, painting supplies, swimming pool cleaners, and other chemicals with a strong smell. Any mistakes while storing away these supplies can release toxic fumes into your basement. Leaks in your ductwork will pull air from the basement, which will then be circulated into your home. The strong smell will not only make your home uncomfortable, but exposure to these toxic fumes can lead to headaches and irritation of your skin, eyes, and respiratory tract. Sealing these duct leakages will help safeguard your family’s health while ensuring you enjoy great indoor air quality.

6. Frequent System Breakdowns

Your HVAC system will experience wear and tear faster when it has to work harder because of leaky ductwork. Without timely intervention, this wear and tear can lead to premature failure, forcing you to replace your entire system.

A professional HVAC technician will do a thorough job when performing any service or repair work on the system. Such thoroughness means assessing the system as a whole and looking at all potential culprits, including the ductwork.

7. Strange Noises From the System

Air moving out of leaking ducts may create odd noises. While they may not be loud enough to disrupt your peace, the sounds can be hard to miss. You may hear a hum or groan that starts and stops in sync with your air conditioning system’s operating schedule. There are, of course, other reasons why your system may be producing such sounds. On the other hand, a hiss or whistling sound is almost definitely what you’d hear as air slips out through the leaks in your ductwork.

Mice and other rodents can also start at the leakage points and chew their way into your ductwork. Broken seals and loose junctions can be vulnerable and easy to chew through, especially on old ducts. You may hear strange noises as these unwanted guests move around in the ducts.

8. Old, Brittle, and Damaged Ductwork

You can be certain that your ducts are leaking air if you look at the ductwork and notice obvious signs of damage, such as holes. You have reason to worry if sections of your ducts look kinked or crushed. Similarly, you may have air leaks if your ducts have seals and the tape creating the seals looks like it has cracked or is too old. Again, even with proper care and maintenance, old age may catch up with your ductwork and cause leaks.

Schedule Professional Duct Inspection and Repairs

Addressing leaky ductwork as soon as possible will help you save money on energy bills, maintain high indoor air quality, and avoid costly HVAC repairs. Contact American Air, Plumbing, and Electrical if you notice any of the telltale signs of leaky ducts. Our highly trained and NATE-certified HVAC technicians will inspect your entire duct network and perform the necessary repairs that will restore your system’s efficiency. We may recommend replacing sections of your ductwork or the entire network, depending on the condition of your ductwork and the age of your home.

We have been proud to provide dependable duct services to residents across Florida since 1966. Our service locations include Oviedo, Deltona, Orlando, Sanford, and the surrounding areas. Contact American Air, Plumbing, and Electrical today for an extensive range of HVAC and indoor air quality services, including emergency repairs, routine maintenance, and the installation of new equipment.

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