Air ducts play a very crucial role in an HVAC unit. They move air from the system into your home to maintain a comfortable temperature. When something happens to the ductwork, it significantly affects the HVAC system’s overall performance and efficiency.
As the ducts grow older, their connections can loosen up, causing air leaks. It can also happen due to adhesive failures, accidental damages, excessive humidity, or poor installation. I’s essential to have regular maintenance to diagnose and fix these problems before they morph into bigger ones. Read on to learn more about how loose air ducts affect your HVAC unit.
1. High Utility Bills
When you have loose air ducts, your HVAC system spouts the cooled or heated air to your attic, basement, walls, or other unnecessary locations. As a result, the unit needs to work extra hard to maintain the required temperature in your house. If your HVAC system continuously runs for a more extended period, it drives up the amount of fuel consumed, which severely increases operation costs.
Air ducts leak can cause an increase of up to 30% energy usage. You’ll begin to notice your utility bills spike. If you suspect you have a loose duct, it would be best to call in an HVAC professional. They’ll examine your air ducts and run tests to assess your unit’s efficiency.
2. Uneven Heating and Cooling
Loose ducts also result in weak airflow. The conditioned air spills out even before reaching other rooms, creating pressure differences. Your system will always feel as if it’s barely working. Some spaces won’t receive enough conditioned air, causing hot and cold spots. Uneven cooling or heating compromises the comfort level in your house.
If you notice a disparity, place your hand against the air supply vent, and if you feel a faint breeze, your air ducts may be loose. Additionally, if ductwork located behind a wall is in fact loose, it creates a cold spot in the wall. You can detect the problem by placing your hand on your bedroom, living spaces, and even bathroom walls to check for temperature variations.
3. Increased Noise
The most obvious way to check for loose ductwork is by listening. Move closer to your duct to determine whether you can hear any strange noises from the blower motor, furnace, or air conditioner. These noises start and stop synchronizing with your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning unit’s operation pattern.
The gaps caused by disconnected air ducts create some wheezing sounds when the air rushes through. Additionally, when loose metal ducts bang against each other, it may lead to some rattling sounds.
Also, watch out for shakes and vibrations. Although expansion and contraction can create shakes and vibrations at times, it’s usually due to loose air ducts. Still, damping and adding extra insulation can help reduce the noises or eliminate them.
4. Poor Indoor Air Quality
When you turn on your HVAC system, loose air ducts suck up dirt, dust particles, and pet dander from your basement and attic. The unit then blows out the debris through various vents in the house, creating air quality problems.
If you have sensitive individuals at home, they end up suffering from itchy eyes, runny noses, asthma attacks, and other respiratory conditions. Besides affecting the air quality, loose air ducts create extra house-cleaning tasks. Sometimes you clean your home only to turn around to find that everything is dusty again.
5. Clogged Air Filters
Well-sealed ductwork not only conditions your air but also inhibits the circulation of dirt and debris. Your unit contains a filter that traps out these contaminants, preventing them from entering the system or ductwork.
As mentioned earlier, loose ducts siphon dust particles from the surroundings, and they can quickly get sucked up into your filters. As a result, you’ll have to change them more often, further adding to your system’s operational costs.
6. Increased HVAC Repairs
When air ducts loosen, airflow throughout the system is inhibited. The linings pull away, creating blockages, so your HVAC unit will work extra hard to push the air past the obstructions. Additionally, if too much dirt circulates through the system, it limits airflow, further diminishing the unit’s efficiency. The dirt particles, long operation hours, and high speed eventually strain the system, leading to an increased wear and tear rate.
Consequently, your entire HVAC system becomes very susceptible to expensive breakdowns. Loose air ducts affect several mechanical components in the unit, increasing the need for repairs, even if you have a relatively new system.
For instance, if your system’s furnace runs for a more extended period, the blowers get brittle, and they’ll eventually break. Your unit will, therefore, not be in a position to circulate warm air. Such repairs are costly, and the unpleasant interruptions create frustrations, especially in the middle of the winter season.
7. It Might Lead to Back-Drafting
In some extreme cases, loose air ducts may lead to dangerous back-drafting. The unit can suck up fumes from water heaters or gas furnaces and recirculate them back into the house. If the duct leaks heated or cooled air in unconditioned areas, like the attic, it leads to imbalanced air pressure. Further, the pressure disparity results in negative indoor pressure that can drive outdoor air from any spaces, including the heater vent.
It will not only affect the quality of air but also cause some severe issues. For instance, in a smaller house, the recirculation of combustion gases like carbon monoxide may pose the risk of oxygen depletion.
Additionally, during summertime, when your HVAC unit has already cooled the interior walls, the imbalanced pressure forces warm outdoor air into the house. When the hot currents come into contact with the chilled walls, it condenses into water, which leads to the accumulation of mildew and molds.
Molds are unsightly, and their pores can lead to dangerous health issues, especially to children or the elderly. Besides, the musty odor inevitably fills your home. The first line of defense against this is to schedule regular maintenance to service your system. A professional can detect airflow difference and also fix any loose air ducts.
The air duct’s primary function is to provide a pathway for cold and warm air to travel and spread efficiently in a house. If you have a loosely installed ductwork, it may result in inefficiency, increased load for your HVAC unit, dust build-up, low-quality air, and even breathing issues.
While you might feel tempted to fix the air ducts, it’s worth noting that the task requires professional skills and special equipment. Therefore, if you notice a steep spike in your energy bills or you suspect that your system doesn’t operate as efficiently as it should, reach out to Velox Air, Inc.. We offer top-notch heating and air conditioning services in Sun City, Avondale, Tempe, Cave Creek, New River, Paradise Valley, and the surrounding areas.
Our company provides comprehensive home comfort services to suit diverse needs. We’re very experienced in solar installations, ductwork, indoor air quality, and sheet metal fabrication services. Additionally, we provide heating and cooling repairs, replacements and maintenance, and ductless mini-split systems services.
Call us today to schedule an appointment and enjoy the services of an experienced professional.