HVAC Hacks: Tips for Novices and New Homeowners

Four Signs You Need To Seal Your Air Conditioning System's Ductwork

Air conditioner ductwork is essential in promoting efficient cooling and boosting indoor comfort. Unfortunately, since ducts are installed out of sight, they are the most overlooked part of residential AC systems. For example, most people don't upgrade or seal their ductwork when replacing their air conditioners. If your ducts aren't sealed, they may cause cooling problems in your home. Read on for four signs you need to seal your air conditioner ducts.

Inconsistent Temperatures in the Home

Many homeowners install ductwork in unconditioned or semi-insulated spaces such as the attic, basement, and wall cavities. Due to a lack of insulation, unsealed ducts installed in these spaces absorb heat from the surrounding environment. Consequently, the heat warms the conditioned air, causing some interior spaces to receive warmer air. Rooms whose ducts are in unconditioned spaces require more cooling than the rest of the building. If your AC has no zoning, you will experience inconsistent temperatures throughout the home.

Poor Indoor Air Quality

Unsealed ducts are at risk of wearing out and suffering leaks. Small leaks cause the ducts to draw air from the surrounding environment. If the ducts are installed in a poorly maintained attic or basement, they draw in air that has dust, pollen, and other pollutants. The air conditioner blows this poor-quality air into the interior spaces. If your AC seems to blow dusty air, your ducts are likely leaking. You should seal the ductwork to prevent air quality issues in the home. Invest in high-quality air filters that can trap minute contaminants in the indoor air.

Low Airflow in Some Rooms

Leaking ducts undermine the performance of the air conditioner by causing airflow issues. Severe air leakage from the ducts lowers the volume of air in the system. Since air conditioners don't pull outdoor air into the house, a leak in the ductwork reduces the amount of conditioned air circulating in the interior spaces. Consequently, airflow issues arise in the affected rooms. Low airflow forces the AC compressor to work harder to cool down the home, which can cause premature failure of the motor and compressor. 

Increased Energy Consumption

Unsealed ducts increase your air conditioner's energy consumption in two ways. If the ducts have leaks, they lose conditioned air to the surroundings, forcing the AC to work harder to cool the home. As a result, the unit consumes more energy than it should. Similarly, unsealed ducts in uninsulated spaces absorb heat and raise the temperature of the conditioned air. Therefore, the AC has to run longer to achieve the pre-set thermostat temperatures. This translates into increased energy consumption and higher cooling costs. 

Are you experiencing any of the above problems with your air conditioner? Contact an HVAC contractor for professional duct sealing and AC repairs.