Air conditioning ductwork can deteriorate over time due to age, poor quality materials, and poor installation. Structural remodels can also cause punctures in the ducts, leading to air leaks. Leaks in your air conditioning ductwork can affect cooling and increase your energy bills. Therefore, it's paramount to fix the leaks as soon as you locate them. But how do you tell whether your ducts are leaking? Below are three signs to look out for.
Poor Indoor Air Quality
Small holes in ductwork can allow dust, pollen, and smoke into the home. If you have pesticides or paint products sitting in your garage or basement, the fumes from these products can find their way into the ductwork and into your home. Consequently, you will experience a reduction in indoor air quality. Poor air quality is characterized by:
- Increased allergy symptoms in households
- Respiratory conditions due to inhaling toxic fumes
- Unusually dusty surfaces in the home
Your first instinct may be to replace your air filters. However, if the air quality still deteriorates after changing your AC filters, you may be dealing with leaking ductwork. You must repair the ducts to restore the quality of air in your home.
Air Circulation Issues
Duct leaks lower air circulation in the affected rooms. Since air is being lost to the surroundings, the ducts will supply inadequate air to the house. Therefore, even after setting the thermostat, the spaces will take longer to achieve the desired temperatures. Air circulation issues affect how long each room takes to cool to the preset temperatures. Therefore, you can pinpoint this problem by monitoring the cooling times.
If you have a zoned system, switch on the air in each zone at a time and notice how long it takes to cool. Does it take longer than usual to cool the room? If so, your ducts are leaking. Conversely, if your system isn't zoned, you can look out for low airflow in the entire home. If there is a change in air circulation, air volume, or cooling times, you need ductwork repairs.
Cold Spots on the Walls
It is possible to puncture your ducts accidentally during a remodel. When this happens, the ducts behind the walls may leak conditioned air to the surrounding drywall. Therefore, the surface becomes colder than the rest of the wall. Go around your home and feel for cold spots on the walls. You can limit your search to the path along which the ductwork is installed. If some parts feel significantly cooler than others, the ducts may be leaking cold air to the drywall.
Ductwork leaks can undermine the performance of your air conditioner and increase energy costs. If you notice any of the above signs, contact an HVAC repair contractor for immediate ductwork repairs.