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5 Common Duct Problems and How to Address Them

You probably don’t think about your air ducts all that often. But you shouldn’t slip into “an out of sight, out of mind” mentality when it comes to something so much depends on. Your ducts keep you comfortable when they’re functional. They save you money when they’re energy efficient. They also reduce your exposure to irritants when they’re clean.


Your air ducts don’t need constant surveillance in order to work correctly. So long as you stay on the lookout for these five common duct problems, you’ll be way ahead of most of most homeowners.


Dirty Ducts

Indoor air is much more polluted than outdoor air. Inadequate ventilation, high temperatures and high humidity levels all contribute to that phenomenon – and so too do dirty ducts.


Ducts can trap a wide range of contaminants such as dust, pollen, mold spores, pet dander, pest droppings, and volatile organic compounds, to name just a few. When ducts are dirty, they can release these contaminants into the home interior even when the furnace or AC isn’t running.


Fortunately, avoiding allergy and asthma symptoms can be as easy as having your ducts cleaned. If you’ve noticed a stale odor permeating your home – or dust accumulating around your vents – then all you have to do to correct the problem is schedule professional duct cleaning.


Leaky Ducts

About 20 to 30% of the air traveling through ductwork is lost due to leaks, holes, and poorly connected ducts. You’re still paying to heat and cool that lost air. You just aren’t benefiting from it.


If your energy bills have seemed suspiciously high lately, the culprit may be leaky ducts. You can locate some leaks by inspecting exposed ductwork while the fan is turned on. Tighten any loose connections you encounter, and use aluminum foil tape to patch up small holes. That’s right! After decades of using it for other things, you can finally use duct tape for its intended purpose.


An amateur patch job won’t increase duct efficiency to 100%, but every leak you fix can only improve your home’s energy efficiency and promote longer lifespans for your HVAC appliances.


Leaky Registers

Air doesn’t just escape from leaky ducts. It also escapes from leaky registers – i.e. the vents that supply cool and warm air to your living space. When registers are installed incorrectly, air that was meant for the room will instead disappear into the surrounding walls, basement or attic.


Sealing a leaky register is a straightforward DIY project:

  1. Remove register
  2. Seal gap between duct and surrounding sheetrock with caulk, foam or mastic
  3. Apply weather stripping around edge of register cover
  4. Return register


Poor Insulation

Poorly insulated ducts in cold basements lose heat. And when they’re in hot attics, they lose their cool just as easily. That spells decreased comfort, higher energy bills and shortened lifespans for your furnace and AC unit alike.


You may choose a professional service to install spray foam around your inadequately insulated ducts. If you would prefer to take a DIY approach, then you may install faced fiberglass insulation with an R-value of R-4 to R-8 around your ducts instead. (In cold South Dakota, it’s best to avoid duct insulation with an R-value less than R-6.)


Poor Design

Inadequately supported, excessively long and undersized ducts all cause air distribution problems. That’s why poorly designed ductwork results in excessive noise, needlessly high energy bills, and accelerated wear and tear on the HVAC system.


A professional HVAC technician or competent DIYer may be able to correct inefficient flexible ductwork quickly and affordably. Rigid ductwork presents considerably greater difficulty, however, and is impossible to address completely without ripping up floors and walls. In other words, poor duct design is a problem many homeowners just choose to live with.

If your home in the greater Sioux Falls or Beresford, SD area has dirty ductwork – or it has been three to seven years since your last duct cleaning – then we welcome you to contact Dan’s Drain & Duct Cleaning today. Our work will dramatically reduce your exposure to contaminants, and reduce the operating costs of your furnace and AC as well!

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