Signs Of Poorly Installed Air Ducts | How To Identify Bad Ductwork

Every time you turn on the heating or air conditioning system, air flows in through supply ducts and out through return ducts. If your HVAC unit is the heart, supply ducts are the arteries (carrying blood to the heart) and return ducts are the veins (carrying blood back to the heart).

The air ducts running through your home are a vital component of your HVAC system. Unfortunately, you may be surprised to find out how many HVAC and ductwork systems are improperly installed.

According to Energy Star, “more than half of new systems in U.S. homes do not perform to their rated efficiency as a result of improper installation.” Improper HVAC sizing and installation causes high energy bills, reduced performance, worse indoor air quality, and poor air distribution.

If your ductwork has a bunch of air leaks and poorly designed duct systems, you will definitely have worse indoor air quality and higher energy bills than those with sealed and insulated ducts.

Signs of a Bad Duct Installation

Below are some commons signs of poorly installed ductwork. Contact a qualified HVAC company to fix any of the following duct problems.

Air Duct Leaks

According to Energy Star, “about 20% of the air that moves through the duct system is lost due to leaks, holes, and poorly connected ducts.” Ductwork leaks cause your HVAC system to work harder. In addition to losing conditioned air, if the ducts aren’t tight enough, negative air pressure can suck in dirty air. Air duct leaks are especially problematic in basements, crawlspaces, garages, and attics.

Look for cracks, gaps, and poor connections around all of your air duct seams. Consider scheduling professional air duct sealing if you suspect leaky ducts.

If you are suffering from allergies and other problems associated with an excessive amount of dust, you may have ductwork with considerable leaks. The leaks in your ductwork not only release conditioned air, they also allow air, dust, and debris in.

Signs of leaky air ducts include:

  • High energy bills
  • Rooms are difficult to heat or cool
  • Rooms seem stuffy and uncomfortable
  • Ductwork runs through basements, attics, crawlspaces, or garages
  • You notice tangled, loose, collapsed, or damaged ducts

If you notice any leaking air ducts, schedule duct testing immediately. Your HVAC technician will pressurize the duct system to pinpoint any leaks that are present.

Learn the differences between DIY and Professional Duct Sealing. For comprehensive duct sealing that lasts the lifetime of your duct system, contact the professionals.

Hot and Cold Spots, Inconsistent Room Temperatures

If you are experiencing hot and cold spots, and other comfort problems, you may have improperly sized ductwork or issues with your airflow.

Undersized ducts and grilles restrict airflow and may be the cause of your comfort and temperature problems. If you notice loud airflow and strange noises such as whistling and popping, you may have improperly sized ducts or blocked vents and registers. If you see any sagging flex ducts, contact a professional to make sure everything is supported and pulled tight.

In addition to checking air ducts for kinks and damage, check the following:

  • Clean air filter
  • Minimum 2-foot clearance around outdoor condenser unit
  • Open and unobstructed vents and registers
  • At least one support every 4 feet for flex ducts
  • Annual professional heating and air conditioning maintenance

If you suspect improperly installed air ducts, contact a professional for a static pressure test.

Professional Duct Maintenance, Repair & Installation

If you have a lot of duct leaks, airflow problems, and difficulties reaching the desired temperature, your ductwork may have been improperly installed.

A professional HVAC company will help you troubleshoot and solve any ductwork issues you may have.

Signs of Good Duct Installation

  • Joints and seams sealed with mastic or something similar
  • Rigid metal for duct fittings
  • Pre-insulated duct fittings

Ductwork should operate in a closed system, meaning tightly sealed from one end to the other.

In addition to doing your homework to make sure you’ve hired the right HVAC company for the job, we also recommend conducting a visual inspection yourself. After anybody does work on your duct system, it’s important to walk through the home and make sure the ducts are in good working condition and pulled tight. Make sure all of the duct connections and joints are sealed properly with an approved sealant.

Ask your HVAC company to conduct a duct leakage test before leaving the property.

Air Duct Insulation

One of the risks of running air conditioning into a warm room is condensation, which can add moisture into your ductwork, aiding mold, and fungi growth.

In addition to protecting against moisture-related problems, duct insulation will also improve energy efficiency by keeping hot or cold temperatures from affecting the temperature inside. Air duct insulation is especially effective where there is a lot of ductwork in unconditioned areas, such as attics, basements, and crawl spaces.

Service Champions offers PureFlow™ Duct System technology, which ensures energy savings and strong airflow. In addition to multiple layers of fiber-reinforced mastic sealant, we also install vapor barriers and foil-backed insulation.

After your PureFlow system is installed, we will conduct a duct pressure test to make sure there are no air leaks whatsoever.

Duct Maintenance

To help prevent duct and ventilation problems in your HVAC system, regular HVAC maintenance is crucial. Early spring is the perfect time for a professional air conditioning tune-up. So, give Service Champions a call today and take advantage of our limited-time 2-for-1 Furnace and A/C Tune-Up for $59.

Hurry, this offer expires on March 31st, 2018! Contact Service Champions today to schedule your March HVAC Tune-Up.

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