Duct leaks are bad for your home and your central air conditioning system. They rob your home of adequate cool air and force your AC to work harder to meet the preset thermostat temperatures. Thus, they are not only an inconvenience, but they can also shorten the lifespan of your system. If you suspect that your AC ducts are leaking, it's crucial to ascertain this and arrange for immediate repairs. Below are simple steps you can take to inspect your ductwork for leaks.
Examine the Quality of Indoor Air
The first thing that suffers when you have leaking ducts is the indoor air. Gaps and tears in the ductwork allow the system to draw dust, pollen, and other contaminants from the outdoor space. These contaminants can end up in your home and affect air quality. As a result, you can expect increased allergy symptoms among household users, visible dust on surfaces, and an overall feeling of stuffy, dirty air. Thus, if your air is suddenly poor quality, you may have a ductwork problem.
Monitor Energy Bills
Every household's energy bills fall within a predetermined range every month. During the summer, you know how much you generally spend on cooling. If your bills are suddenly higher than normal, your air conditioning system could be the problem. There are various factors that cause an increase in energy consumption, which include:
- Dirty filters
- Dirty condenser coils
- Low refrigerant levels
- A faulty thermostat
- Leaking ducts
All the above issues cause the central air conditioner to work harder to deliver cold air into the home. With leaking ducts, they lose conditioned air before it reaches the rooms. As a result, the thermostat forces the air conditioner to crank up the air to cool the rooms. This results in increased energy consumption.
Conduct a Visual Inspection
A visual inspection of your central AC ductwork can reveal gaps, disconnections, and tears in the ductwork. However, most portions of the ductwork are installed out of reach. If you can access some areas, especially in the attic, basement, or crawl space, get in there and inspect your system. Pay attention to the jointed ducts and areas where the ducts are bent.
Look for visible signs of damage. While doing this, set your AC on full blast. Place your hand over the metal. If you feel the air on your hands, this may be a sign of a leak. If you burn incense, you can also carry a lit incense stick and pass it below the ducts. If there's a leak, the air from the ductwork will blow at the smoke from your stick.
AC ducts require regular repairs to prevent further deterioration of the indoor air quality. Contact an air conditioning repair service for more information.