Understanding Ductwork: Answering Your Most Frequently Asked Questions

An often overlooked, yet significant element in your home’s heating and cooling system is your ductwork. Without air ducts, there would be no point in having a heating or air conditioning unit. Air ducts are responsible for distributing warmed or cooled air throughout your home, and for keeping you comfortable. Improperly designed or failing ductwork can cost you a great deal of money in energy loss and in some instances, lead to a premature failure of your HVAC system. 
We’ve collected some questions we hear most often and listed them with our answers below.
Q. I hear that my ducts can leak. What does this mean?
A. Studies have shown that leaks in your ductwork are responsible for as much as 25% of energy loss inside your home. Air Ducts require a balance in pressure to evenly distribute heated or cooled air throughout your house. Gaps, dents, or loose seals can all allow air to escape into unconditioned areas. This imbalance of air pressure can make the job of your heater or air conditioner more difficult. Your unit has to work extra hard to make your home comfortable. Anytime your heating or cooling unit has to perform overtime, your sacrificing comfort while wasting energy and money.
Q. How can I tell if my ducts are leaking?
A. One easy way to tell is to assess the comfort levels in your home. If you find that you’re always running your heating or cooling unit and your home never seems to reach a desired temperature, or some rooms are more comfortable than others, your ductwork might be to blame. Homeowners are usually quick to blame their air conditioner or furnace for their comfort concerns. In many instances, it’s not the unit that is to blame, but rather it’s the ductwork that isn’t performing to it’s fullest potential. The best way to know is to contact a professional to help you accurately assess the condition and performance of your ductwork. 
Q. If my ducts are leaking, how can they be fixed?
A. Contrary to what many homeowners believe, the best way to seal or repair your ductwork is not by using duct tape. Today, technology has given us cement mastic that not only seals your ducts, but also keeps contaminants out. When done by a trained professional, your properly sealed air ducts can reduce energy costs significantly. 
Q. If my ducts are sealed, why do they also need to be insulated?
A. Even if you have a perfectly balanced system with no leaks, your air ducts can still lose energy. Imagine how sweltering hot the air inside your attic gets in the summertime. Now imagine how effective your bare sheet metal ductwork is if it passes through your attic without insulation. All the cold, conditioned air you are trying to cool your house with is being warmed as it passes through this zone. Some studies have shown that the same amount of energy lost via leaks can also be lost due to a lack of insulation.
Do you have questions about your ductwork or do you think your air ducts might be leaking? Contact your On Time Service Pros today!

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