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Ailing Ducts: Pinpoint the Cause and Find a Cure

Ailing Ducts: Pinpoint the Cause and Find a CureIssues with inadequate home comfort and high energy bills often can be traced back to poor duct design. Use this handy guide to identify possible issues with air ducts, and remedy duct problems for a major boost in home comfort and a reduction in energy bills.

Pinpointing Duct Problems

Whether it’s something as simple as a failing duct connection depriving airflow to specific areas of living space, or a lack of quality insulation applied to ductwork located in the attic, crawl space, basement or other unconditioned spaces, ailing ductwork can force your cooling and heating equipment to work harder than necessary in your home.

Look for these duct issues, and then consider one or more possible solutions:

  • Obstructions in the ducts cause uneven cooling and heating in the living spaces. Obstructions are quite common issues with many different possible causes, including a loose-fitting filter that has been sucked into ductwork, malfunctioning zoning dampers and collapsed insulation for lined ductwork. A visual inspection will be necessary to remove or repair the obstruction. You may need to call an HVAC professional for jammed dampers.
  • Crushed or tangled ductwork (flex ducts) may occur when stored objects (e.g. boxes) shift and fall on top of ducts, perhaps during an earthquake, for instance.
  • Fallen ductwork is common when inferior sealing techniques were used during original installation. Fallen ductwork and loose connections should be sealed with mastic and/or metal tape.
  • Holes and leaks should be sealed with mastic and mesh.
  • Dirt and debris can hinder airflow at any juncture in the ductwork system. The cage and blower blades can accumulate enough debris to significantly hinder airflow. Debris at supply outlets and return grilles may be an issue, too. Wipe all these areas clean, or use the brush extension of a vacuum.
  • Insulation wrap or rigid board should be applied to ductwork installed in unconditioned spaces. Heat energy readily transfers through thin duct walls, which means you are cooling or heating the attic, for instance, without adequate duct insulation.

For a professional evaluation of your air ducts, please contact us at Donald P. Dick Air Conditioning today. We serve homeowners in the greater Fresno area.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater Fresno, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about duct problems and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

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