Your air ducts are like the pipes of your heating and air conditioning system. Their job is to carry the cooled air from your air conditioner to your various rooms. If there are leaks along the way, you won't end up with water damage as you would with leaky pipes -- but you will end up with unnecessarily high energy bills and some other negative effects. Here's how you can tell if your ducts are leaking -- and what you can do to address leaks.
How can you tell if your ducts are leaking?
The most obvious sign of leaky ducts is increasingly high heating and cooling bills. If you have not turned up the thermostat and the price per unit of electricity or fuel has not gone up in your area, higher energy bills could indicate leaky ducts. Ask some friends with homes that are similar in size to your own about their heating bills. If theirs are much lower, this is further indication that you have an issue.
You can also walk through your home and put your hand in front of each heating vent when the heat or air conditioning is switched on. If air flow feels weaker at certain vents, then the ducts leading to those vents could be leaking. If you feel along your walls and notice that certain areas feel overly warm, this is also a sign that heated air is seeping from your ducts at those points.
What can you do about leaky ducts?
If you suspect your home has leaky ducts, contact an HVAC company. They can send a camera into your duct system to visualize the interior of your ducts. This will allow them to spot any leaks.
If your HVAC company finds just one or two leaks, they may be able to seal them with a metal patch or even with duct tape. However, if they find that a lot of the junction between your ducts are leaky, they may recommend a procedure called duct sealing. Duct sealing involves applying a special sealant to the entire interior of your duct system. This special sealant acts as a barrier for the air, preventing it from exiting the ducts except through your heating vents.
If your energy bills are going up or there does not seem to be much hot air coming from certain vents, don't ignore this issue. Contact a heating and air conditioning company such as Metro Air to learn more about leaky ducts and their remedies.