When people think of malfunctioning Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems, they typically think in terms of air conditioning or heating units – and forget the “ventilation” portion of HVAC.

So, if you have noticed problems with your home or business maintaining a comfortable temperature this summer, understand that it may not actually have anything to do with your AC compressor, condenser, or even thermostat. It could, in fact, be down to your ductwork. And if your ducts are leaking air, your air conditioner could end up suffering as a result, as it will end up running much longer and harder than necessary – all to produce cold air that does not get delivered where it counts.

But how do you know this is the reason for your HVAC problems? Let’s take a closer look and determine how to tell when your air ducts are leaking – and what to do if you find yourself in this situation.

What to know:

The tubes that make up your home’s and/or business’s ventilation system – the ducts – require a consistent air pressure to produce optimum airflow and deliver the comfort that you desire.

Water dripping from the air conditioner

And if you have a leak in your ducts or a poor seal at a join – either between ducts or the AC or heater which feeds them – your HVAC will struggle to do its job. This will become evident, not only in your comfort, but also in your bottom line, as you will end up paying more in utility bills. And, as we stated before, long term leaks can even lead to a shorter lifespan of other elements of your HVAC or cause breakdowns.

What to look for:

Duct damage, holes, shoddy tape

If you suspect a problem in your ductwork, the first thing to do is go look at it. Granted this is easier for some areas than others. For instance, ductwork in tight crawlspaces, in walls, or on roofs might be hard to access. However, if you can get to it and put eyes on the ducts, try and do so. If you see any dents or cracks, that is obviously a big, flashing problem sign. Also beware of any rusty portions of piping. Make sure to inspect all seals – especially anywhere you see tape, as these are common sites of leaks. (NOTE: Beware, in some older homes your tape may actually be asbestos tape. So, if it is an older duct system, with old tape, please contact an HVAC professional to look immediately.)

The good news is that if it is a faulty seal or section of duct, it can likely be replaced at minimal cost to you. However, you will likely need a professional HVAC contractor to complete this task.

Hot or cold spots in your home

The next most obvious sign of a malfunctioning duct system is a room (or various rooms) that have hot or cold spots. Uneven temperatures in a room indicate poor airflow. Remember the consistent air pressure we mentioned earlier? If that is not present, the air will not circulate properly throughout your home/business, leaving random hot/cold spots. That could even extend to whole rooms. These cases will be most obvious during the heat of summer and the cold of winter.

Unusual amounts of dust/allergens

A closed duct system – especially one in which you change the air filter every 3-4 months (or more often if you have indoor pets) – will eliminate a certain amount of dust in your home. However, a compromised duct system will actually allow dust into your air circulation and spread it around your home/business. Especially if the leak is in an attic or crawlspace, the dust present there – or even other things like pollen or insects (yuck!) will get picked up and spread to other parts of your home/business. This will lead to poor indoor air quality. And if you have allergens to dust or pollen, it can have a seriously detrimental effect on your overall health.

Ventilation duct

Constantly running HVAC – and higher bills because of that

If your system is leaking the air that is supposed to make your home/business more comfortable it stands to reason that is going to have to work harder to maintain the comfort you ask of it. For that reason, you may notice that your air conditioner (in summer) or heater (in winter) is running much more than in season’s past. As we already mentioned, all that extra work means added stress to your AC and heater – which could lead to break downs (especially in older systems). Increased run time from your HVAC also means more energy utilized – which means increased bills from your utility company. So, if you’ve noticed significant increases in your power bills over this same time last year, you should have your system checked.

What to do:

So, let’s say you notice one or more of these issues…What do you do about it. Well, unless you have experience in fixing or replacing ductwork, your best bet is to call a professional HVAC contractor and book an appointment. If you see small holes in your ducts, you can purchase metallic tape at a hardware store and attempt to patch the problem – but know that is simply a short-term solution. A professional will be able to completely fix the problem for good and return your HVAC to full efficiency, saving you money and restoring your peace of mind that you can depend on comfort year-round. Learn more about our Air Duct Services here!

Yet not all contractors are the same. And you want to select a professional that not only has experience in replacing ductwork but also has fast, reliable, and friendly service technicians. Conditioned Air Systems has offered that very thing since we opened our doors in 1983. What’s more, we have our own factory-grade shop where we can produce ductwork to fit any need. Because of that in-house fabrication, we can produce ducts of any size and do so at speed.

It is that commitment to quality and service that has helped us stand out in a competitive industry and made us a favorite for customers across north Georgia. So, if you have – or think you have – a duct problem, contact us today at 770-534-5121 and let us get to grips with it. We’ll have you back and running at full speed in no time.