You may be asking yourself, what even are air ducts? Well, that’s a great place to start. Ducts are used in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) to deliver and remove air in every area of your home. They are typically made of either aluminum, galvanized steel, or fiberglass and run throughout your home space.

Your ductwork is exceptionally critical to the energy conservation and air quality in your home. You could have a brand new, top-of-the-line heating and cooling system, but if your air ducts are not properly cleaned, designed or sealed, you could be wasting a lot of money.

Duct cleaning and sealing is one of the most labor intensive and expensive services for heating and air companies. Unfortunately, because of this labor, cost, and the fact that manufacturers don’t sponsor it, it is often overlooked and ignored by many HVAC technicians and consultants.

You may not be aware of how much air your ducts are actually leaking. Studies have shown that the average air duct leakage in the United States is about 30 percent. That means that 30 percent of heated or cooled air is being lost on its journey from your HVAC system to your home. In Athens, Georgia, air duct leakage is at approximately 27 percent. One sign that your ducts are leaking is a significant difference in your thermostat temperature setting and the actual temperature in the room. Finally, if your utility bills in the winter and summer months are above average or if certain spaces in your home are difficult to heat or cool, this could also be caused by leaking ducts.

The design of your duct system could also be contributing greatly to significant air leakage and poor ventilation in your home. It is crucial to have a certified and educated technician or consultant to plan, size, optimize, and find pressure losses in the duct design. Alternatives of the duct design depend greatly on your home, lifestyle, and season.

Testing the efficiency, cleanliness, and tightness of your air ducts is encouraged if your home is older or if you are experiencing any of the signs of leakage listed above. A visual inspection of the ductwork is encouraged for inspecting the cleanliness of the ducts; however, it is difficult to determine how much leakage is occurring without duct blaster testing or blower door testing. Both of these tests will accurately show the performance of the ductwork in your home.

Ultimately, if you are concerned with the air quality in your home, your system’s efficiency, or are interested in saving money on your utility bills, we suggest getting a certified technician or consultant to come check out your ductwork and ventilation system.  

Olivia McDonald