Dealing with Duct Leaks


According to the Energy Star website, 20 to 30 percent of the air that moves through a typical HVAC system is lost due to holes, cracks and other leaks. The results are increased utility bills and compromised household health and comfort. Are you having issues with your HVAC air pressure or temperature levels? If your unit isn’t running as efficiently as used to, you might be dealing with leaky air ducts.

In an HVAC system, the ductwork is responsible for distributing the conditioned air throughout your home. It tunnels through the walls of your home and delivers the forced air to the vents connected to every room. If your ducts are damaged and leaking, some of that forced air will escape before making it to your vents. This will make your system work harder – and for a longer period of time. Look over our notes regarding leaky ductwork for a DIY assessment of common causes and issues.

Signs of Leaky Air Ducts

  • Uncomfortable Temperature in One or Multiple Rooms
  • Stuffiness or Marked Change in Air Quality
  • Higher Electric Bills in Summer and Winter
  • Ducts Located in Unconditioned Areas Such as the Attic or Storage Closet
  • Flexible Ducts that Are Dented or Damaged
  • Dirty Areas Around Vents
  • Collected Dust and other Contaminants in Return Ductwork

Reasons for Leaky Air Ducts

  • Homes with Old Ductwork
  • Old or Decomposing Duct Insulation
  • Little or No Insulation
  • Loose Duct Connections
  • Incompetent Repair Work
  • Foundation Problems
  • Bad Installation

Long-Term Effects of Leaky Air Ducts

  • Inefficient Use of Energy Resources
  • HVAC-Related Repairs
  • Consistently Clogged Air Filters
  • Indoor Air Quality Problems
  • Hot and Cold Spots in the Home
  • Compromised Health and Comfort

Stopping Air Leaks

Leaks in your duct system can cause a multitude of problems, some of which can be very expensive to remedy. The longer that they go on, the harder and more complicated they will be to fix. Fortunately, there are several DIY options available for sealing or repairing damaged ducts, most of them are relatively simple and inexpensive. Depending on the type of damage and where it is located, a professional might suggest a spray sealant, rolled mastic sealant or several brush-on sealants that can be found at any hardware or home improvement store.

If you think that your whole-house HVAC unit might be performing poorly due to leaks in the duct system, you should contact a professional HVAC technician to run a home energy audit. They will be able to assess your system and help provide solutions for moving forward. Your HVAC might also be performing poorly due to polluted ducts, which can affect both your unit and your IAQ. If your ductwork is dirty, give Service Legends a call at 515-657-6634 and we’ll schedule a free duct cleaning estimate.

More About the Benefits of Duct Sealing

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