Should You Have Your Ducts Tested?

Your ductwork is the unsung hero of your HVAC system. Although it spends its time quietly out of sight and out of mind, this key component is responsible for delivering air from your air conditioner or furnace into every room of your house. If your ductwork is damaged or not functioning properly, then it can lead to a number of efficiency problems with your system.

Duct tests are the best way to determine if there are leaks in your system, but these are not generally performed as part of a routine HVAC maintenance schedule. Watch out for these symptoms to help determine if you should have your home's ductwork tested for leaks.

Inconsistent Heating or Cooling

Although leaky ducts will tend to have a negative effect on the efficiency of your entire HVAC system, they can also have more local and immediately apparent impacts. If one section of ductwork is more leaky than other sections, it can lead to heating or cooling problems in the affected rooms. A loss of overall airflow can also cause rooms that are particularly far away from your blower to receive less air. If you notice that your home has unusual hot and cold spots, this is almost always a sign that there is a problem with your ductwork.

Air Quality Problems

Home air quality problems are often caused by dirty filters, but issues with your ductwork can result in poor air quality as well. This can happen as leaks in the ducting allow dust or debris from attics and crawlspaces to enter into the ductwork system after the filter. This can even lead to a feedback loop where additional dust is pulled into the return air vent, overwhelming the air filter and forcing more frequent replacements.

Unusually High Energy Bills

Of course, the most serious and obvious sign of leaky ductwork is often an unusually high energy bill. When your ductwork leaks, it allows heated or cooled air to escape into parts of your home that are normally not climate controlled. This forces your HVAC system to work harder since less of this conditioned air is reaching the inhabited parts of your home. In most cases, this will mean that your furnace or air conditioner are running for much longer than they would otherwise, driving up your energy costs and placing additional wear and tear on those systems.

If you suspect that your ducts may be leaking, then scheduling a duct test may pay off in the long run. It is common for homes to have leaky ducts, and performing repairs as needed will lower your energy bills and allow your heating and cooling system to work more efficiently. For more information, reach out to companies like All About Energy.