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Are Your Air Ducts “Bleeding” Your Comfort and Money Away?

October 15th, 2013

If you were bleeding, you’d know it. You’d feel the pain coming from the afflicted area. And, of course, you’d do whatever you needed to help heal that area.

Well, many homeowners have “afflicted areas” in their homes that cause them discomfort, but they don’t know how to heal them.

Does the following situation sound familiar?

“Very little air comes out of the supply duct in my bedroom at the far end of my house, making me cold in the winter and hot during the summer. But a tremendous amount of air comes out of another duct in the living room just fine. What’s wrong?”

What causes these hot and cold spots? In short, your air ducts, those big metal containers running throughout your home, are “bleeding” air.

Let us explain what we mean.

Why air ducts are your heating and cooling system’s blood vessels

Imagine your entire heating and cooling system is like your body’s circulatory system.
Your furnace and air conditioner combined are the heart of that system. They pump the heated and cooled air into your air ducts. The ducts then direct where the air will go in your home—just like how blood vessels direct where the blood goes in your body.

However, if your air ducts have leaks, holes, or are poorly connected, all the conditioned air isn’t making it to the rooms in your home, causing cold and hot spots. So in a sense, your ducts are bleeding air, leaving you uncomfortable.

Not only that, but leaky ducts cost you money through higher energy bills.

Leaking ducts can cost as much as a new air conditioner

According to California Energy Commisiion, the average Californai home loses about 30% of the air that moves through the duct system because of problems with air ducts.

To put that in perspective, the average household spends almost $1,100 on heating and cooling each year—meaning that $220 of that conditioned air is wasted because it leaked out the ducts. Let’s show how devastating that can be over time.

The average lifespan of an air conditioner is about 15 years. So let’s say you’re wasting $220 a year until that air conditioner dies: 15x$220=$3300. That’s the price of a new central air conditioner! As you can see, leaking ducts are more than just a cause of discomfort for your home, they’re a major drain on your wallet.

So how do you heal these bleeding air ducts? By finding the source of the leaks and sealing them.

Air duct sealing: the key to healing your bleeding air ducts

Here’s a simple process find and seal air ducts:

Step 1. Turn on your heating system.

Step 2. Locate your air ducts. You can find them in attics and crawl spaces. Start from your furnace and go out from there.

Step 3. Feel around the air ducts until you feel hot air escaping. You’ll feel most of the air escaping at connections and joints in ducts. To find where air is getting sucked in at a return duct, take some toilet paper with you and put it around the joint of a return ducts. If it sticks to the duct, there’s a leak that’s sucking in air. If this leak is in your attic, it’s adding a major dust to your home.

Step 4. Now that you’ve found the “wounds” it’s time to apply the “bandaids.” Seal the leaks with a mastic sealant. Basically, it’s a very flexible glue—even when dried. This flexibility allows it to move as your ducts expand and contract during summer and winter. Get mastic sealant at your nearest Home Depot. Do NOT use duct tape to seal the ducts. It won’t last. The hot air will cause to tape to peel off over time.

If your air ducts are difficult to locate or inside of walls, or if you’re having trouble finding the leaks and sealing them, you can ask one of our experts for help.

Service Champions, your local heating and air conditioning company, serves San Jose, Sacramento, East Bay and the surrounding areas. For more information on any of our products or services, contact us online.

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