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Is Your Ductwork Showing Signs of Decline? How to Tell

Ductwork doesn’t last forever. Over time, duct components can rust or corrode, sections separate, and accumulated debris cause airflow obstructions that compromise energy efficiency and/or indoor air quality. Poor duct design in older homes also will have a negative effect on your heating and cooling system.

The following tips can help determine whether or not your ductwork is showing signs of decline.

You live in an older home. If your home is 10 years old or more, have an HVAC contractor evaluate your duct design. In the old days, contractors designed ducts for cost efficiency, rather than energy efficiency, which can have a marked effect on your annual heating and cooling spending. Your contractor should use the Air Conditioning Contractors of America’s Manual D to design an efficient duct layout. The investment will pay for itself in a few years.

Energy bills seem higher than normal. If your heating and cooling systems are maintained on a regular basis, but your utility bills are inching upwards, the problem could be in your ducts. Leaky or collapsed ducts cause airflow obstructions and reduced airflow. These obstructions make your heating and cooling systems work harder, which uses more energy. Another culprit could be lack of insulation. Ducts running through unconditioned areas should be well-insulated in order to mitigate heat transfer into or out of the ducts, depending on the season.

Visual evidence. Take a look in your attic or crawl spaces for a visual assessment of the exposed ductwork. If you see dust streaks emanating from joints, it’s a sign of duct leaks. Any visible rust or corrosion/deterioration of the ducts or duct sealants need to be addressed.

Assess room-to-room airflow. Does the airflow in some rooms seem greater or less than others? During routine maintenance appointments, a technician will look for disconnected duct segments, collapsed ducts or significant leaks as examples of duct issues that affect room-to-room airflow.

Schedule a duct blower test. An HVAC technician can  run a duct blower test to calculate how much air is leaking out of your duct system.

Contact the experts at Rinaldi’s Energy Solutions to determine if aging ductwork is an issue in your Orlando area home.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Orlando, Florida and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about ductwork and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

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