In central and forced-air HVAC systems, the ductwork allows conditioned air to travel to the indoor spaces. Ducts are rarely airtight systems. In fact, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) estimates that the average residential ducts cause a 20% to 30% heating and cooling loss. There are a couple of reasons this happens. One is old or wet insulation that is no longer effective.

The other is air leakage. Ducts comprise a series of sections. The installer put those sections together and then sealed them. Over time, sealant breaks down, and cooled and heated air leaks out of the gaps it leaves. The popular method of resealing ducts, which is the aerosol process, can reduce that leakage to just 4%.

Lower Heating and Cooling Costs

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends duct sealing based on the DOE estimates. For the best performance, it also recommends insulating your ducts again when you reseal them. Losing less heated and cooled air means that your system won’t have to make as much. This will lower your electricity consumption and, if applicable, your consumption of natural gas, heating oil or propane. How much duct sealing will save you varies based on a range of factors. That said, most homeowners will need to seal their ducts only every 10 years or so. Based on that fact and the average cost of the service, the industry estimates that most people will recoup their investments.

Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Improved energy efficiency within your HVAC system will lower the carbon footprint of your home. This is significant because it’s the No. 1 way Americans contribute greenhouse gases. Many think it’s their automobiles, but that isn’t the case. In fact, the use of air conditioning is a global problem. HVAC will be the main cause of greenhouse gases in the world by the 2030s, according to the EPA. Reducing your personal impact by 20% is a big deal. If every household in the United States did that, we’d easily add decades to the EPA estimate. It matters locally, too, because it reduces the amount of pollution your home contributes.

Extend the Life of Your HVAC Equipment

We’ve discussed the short-term savings linked to duct sealing, but there are long-term savings as well. If you reduce your HVAC energy losses by even 10%, it translates to significantly less wear and tear on your equipment. Maintenance costs should be about the same, but you’ll save on repair costs. Your HVAC equipment will also last longer, which means a lower total cost of ownership. Eventual HVAC replacement is another consideration. When it does come time for a new system, you likely won’t have to spend any additional money on your ductwork.

Optimize Your Indoor Air Quality

Air leakage is a serious problem when it comes to indoor air quality as well. It’s not as if air only leaks out. Depending on the static pressure within your ducts, air can seep in and introduce pollutants and contaminants. That includes dust, pollen, dander and other particulate matter. The leakage can also affect the relative humidity in the home. Some of those particles will disperse throughout the home when the system kicks on. That’s particularly problematic for those with asthma and allergies. Much of it will settle in the ducts. Dust accumulation in ducts is a problem because it extends the life of pollutants it absorbs and remits them over time. This is one reason the EPA recommends regular duct cleaning. Air leakage also undermines whole-house fans, dehumidifiers and humidifiers.

Keep Pests Out of Your Home

It doesn’t take much for pests to enter your ducts and then your living spaces. This can include all manner of creepy crawlies, including cockroaches. Some of those pests may even find your ducts a perfect habitat and nest there. That will add to your air pollution problems, and you’ll find more insects in your home. As the gaps continue to widen, mice and perhaps even bigger rodents will find their way in as well.

Safeguard Against Combustion Gases

As mentioned, air leakage can occur in reverse when there is negative air pressure. This is similar to particulate matter getting in, but it’s gases and airborne chemicals instead. There’s an even more serious concern if you have fuel-burning devices. Examples include gas stoves, fireplaces, furnaces and water heaters. Venting is important with those devices in order to ensure that the systems expel the carbon monoxide and other gases. The negative air pressure can lead to what the industry calls backdrafting. These backdrafts can actually pull these gases into the ducts and then out into your home.

Improve Home Comfort

Duct sealing will improve the comfort of your home as well. Air pressure is what causes the air to vent out into your home evenly. When the system is working well, your home has about the same temperature and humidity in every room. When the air leakage disrupts the pressure balance too much, it affects the flow of air. This can manifest in strange ways depending on the air balancing in your home. One room may feel great while another experiences hot or cold spots. Eventually, you may also have entire rooms that feel too hot in summer and too cold in winter.

Cleaner Evaporator Coil

There are a number of reasons to schedule seasonal HVAC maintenance. One of the primary reasons is the evaporator coil. It gets dirty through normal usage, and your technician needs to clean it. As it gets dirty, the coil becomes less efficient and more expensive to run. It can also become a breeding ground for mold and unpleasant odors. This typically isn’t an issue if your technician is cleaning the system each season. The impurities that get into your ducts don’t just affect you and your family. They also build up on the equipment, and the evaporator coil is a prime location for that.

Protect Against Other Duct Issues

Another reason to seal your ducts is to ensure that nothing else is wrong with them. One of the first steps in the duct sealing process is a video camera inspection. This lets your technician see if there is dust accumulation or any other issue within the ducts, such as moisture or mold. Your technician will also perform an exterior inspection of the ducts before and after. One purpose of this is to see the seals externally. Another is to check the duct mounting and insulation. If you need cleaning or have other problems, this is a great time to deal with all of them.

Local Duct Sealing Services in Modesto, CA

When you want your ducts sealed in the Greater Modesto area, Loves Air is the company to call. Our team also performs a full range of maintenance, repair and installation services, including conversions. Our HVAC technicians specialize in air conditioners, heat pumps, furnaces, ductless mini-splits, whole-house fans and more. You can have us install and program a new smart thermostat. Our team installs, services and repairs both conventional and tankless water heaters. We also perform energy audits, install replacement windows and implement customized solar power solutions.

Contact Loves Air today to schedule a duct sealing appointment or get answers to your questions about any of our services, like air conditioning solutions.

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