When purchasing a home with a forced air heating and cooling system, people usually assume the ductwork is in optimal condition. However, today's efficiency demands often reveal suboptimal duct performance.
Consider this example: A 30% return duct leak on a hot or cold day can reduce heating or cooling capacity by over 25%. This may seem extreme, but it's not uncommon.
You may be reading this due to professional advice or your own observations. Regardless, let's explore the significance of your duct system.
Ducts channel warm and cool air from HVAC equipment to your home and back. They also control air distribution to each room, crucial for maintaining desired temperatures. Damaged, improperly installed, or incorrectly sized ducts can severely limit your system's efficiency during extreme weather conditions.
Since air is invisible, measuring air properties is necessary to evaluate duct performance. An NCI-Certified Professional can measure airflow to each room, comparing it to requirements. They'll also assess temperatures and pressures to gauge duct efficiency and share results with you.
Unfortunately, few possess the knowledge and tools needed for such measurements. Without data, they can't pinpoint issues or propose solutions, often assuming ducts are fine.
Duct renovations typically involve repairing, straightening, suspending, and sealing damaged ducts. Sometimes, larger ducts or new registers are necessary. Adjusting fan speeds and improving air filtration may also help.
Some HVAC professionals suggest duct sealing for efficiency, but it's not a comprehensive solution. Isolated sealing can exacerbate problems, causing airflow issues, equipment failures, comfort problems, and even safety hazards like carbon monoxide leaks.