Written by Brad Crawford
Air inside your air ducts isn’t necessarily going where it’s supposed to. Neither is all the money you’re spending to cool or heat it. Residential forced-air ductwork is a major source of lost energy, low comfort levels and big utility bills. Most residential air ducts are delivering efficiencies barely above 50 percent. It’s no surprise: When energy was cheap, design and fabrication of home ductwork was frequently treated as an opportunity to skimp on building costs. Today, as these systems silently deteriorate, we’re paying the price for savings of the past.
A trained HVAC technician using calibrated equipment can pressure test the system, measure airflow and visually inspect the entire span of ductwork. Here are some of the common defects in air ducts he’ll be on the lookout for:
Clogged air filter. The most frequent cause of airflow-related problems, the air filter is often the first thing a technician will check when the system’s under-performing.
Dirty blower fan. Dust and dirt accumulation on blower fan blades reduce the fan’s efficiency to move air. Since the output of the blower is matched to the size of the ducts, proper output is required to maintain air balance in rooms.
Collapsed flex ducts. Flexible air ducts designed to bend around corners may lose their material integrity over time and sag or even collapse entirely, cutting off all airflow.
Deteriorated insulation. Inside rigid ductwork, insulation lining the surfaces may deteriorate and collapse, interfering with free flow of air.
Supply duct leaks. Because supply ducts operate under positive pressure from the blower, leakage that spills conditioned air out of the ducts is most likely to occur on this side of the system.
Leaky return ducts. Leaks in return ducts can draw unfiltered air into the system from unconditioned zones such as the attic or under the house.
In North Texas, Crawford Services, Inc. is always raising the bar for quality service and customer satisfaction. Contact us for a skilled evaluation of your air ducts and a reliable estimate of what’s needed to restore optimum performance and efficiency.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in North Texas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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