Air ducts are a system of hollow tubes that carry cooled air throughout your home. They are located in your ceiling, walls, and floors and are arguably one of the most important parts of your air conditioning system because without them, the cooled air would have nowhere to go. Because they play such a large role, it’s important to take care of them and keep them in good shape. Read on to learn about the problems associated with leaky air ducts so you can prevent these issues from happening to you. 

Higher monthly bills

According to experts, many things can cause an air duct to tear or leak. Usually an indicator of a leak is your monthly bill. When there is a leak anywhere in the air duct line it causes the cooled air that is going through the line to escape into the attic instead of its intended destination. You are basically paying lots of money to cool your attic, which makes no sense at all. Because cool air is not reaching the living portion of your home, your AC unit is constantly running in an attempt to cool the rooms below. And constant use of your AC system means you are using tremendous amounts of energy, which is something you will pay for every month. The Department of Energy says that a leak in your air duct causes your system to use 30% more energy, and that’s a lot! 

Creates pressure inside the home

Leaky supply air ducts create what is called negative pressure, which means that outside air is being pulled inside your home. Negative pressure is dangerous and can cause severe health problems.

The Department of Energy says that in the summertime when your air conditioner has cooled the inside walls, warm moist outdoor air is sucked into the house through cracks in walls and around windows and doors. When this moist air hits inside chilled walls, it can condense into water and cause mold and mildew. Breathing in mold and mildew can cause serious long-term health effects and can be dangerous for your whole family, especially children and the elderly. 

Negative pressure in the home can also create back drafting dangers. Back drafting is when vented appliances like dryers and fireplaces release fumes that should be going outside into your home. Fireplaces and dryers produce hazardous chemicals such as carbon monoxide but are designed to push these chemicals outside the home. If you have a leak in your air duct, the pressure will draw the air into your home and contaminate the air that you are breathing. 

Causes hot and cold spots 

Has there ever been a time when you went into a room and it felt like the air conditioner wasn’t on at all, and then went into another room and it was freezing cold? If the answer is yes, chances are there is a leak somewhere in one of your air ducts. Having a tear in a duct that leads to one room will cause all the cooled air to spill out of the line before it can enter the designated room. 

If you have a leak in your system it causes the CFM’s, or the measurement of the velocity of the air as it flows in or out of a room, to go down. The uneven flow of air creates pressure differences which is why some rooms will get really cold and some will get really hot. All rooms should be basically the same temperature if the AC system is running correctly, and if not, then something is wrong.

Makes your home dirty!

Who wants to do extra house cleaning? We sure don’t, and we’re guessing you don’t either! And if you have a leaky air duct, you will be cleaning all the time. The holes inside the duct line will suck up dust, dirt, and other contaminants that are inside your home. After they have been sucked up through the holes, they get blown out through the air vents that are in each of your rooms. This not only causes your home to get covered in dirt and bacteria, but it also creates problems with the quality of air that you and your family breathe.

Now that you know about the problems associated with leaky air ducts, the next question is how do they tear and when should they be replaced?

Many times duct lines are torn during the installation process. If you have someone installing them who is not properly trained, they may cause a small tear. Rodents and pests are a big cause of torn lines. When it’s really hot or really cold outside they will chew up the line to try and get inside. To prevent animals from getting inside, it’s important to have your home, especially your attic, rodent proofed. Being mindful of pests is really important.

While there are ways to patch up a duct line, we recommend having the whole line replaced instead of patching one hole at a time. Patching the line still causes the system to work harder, which will still increase energy bills to a certain degree. Also, there are parts of the duct line that are hard to see and typically if there is a tear you can see, there is probably a tear somewhere you can’t see. The best thing to do is replace the whole line to ensure the problem is completely addressed.  

As you can see, duct lines play an important role in your air conditioning system. Routine maintenance and checkups can keep your system running more efficiently and can save you from having larger, more expensive problems in the long run. Our technicians are trained to recognize even the smallest problem in your AC system, and fixing those problems while they are small is a lot better than waiting until they get out of hand! Give us a call today.