Is there a Thief in Your Ductwork?
Leaky ductwork steals away system performance, taking with it your investment in high-efficiency equipment. For example, a 13 SEER air conditioning unit connected to a leaky duct system with a 30% leakage costs as much to operate as a less expensive 10 SEER unit connected to a tight duct system. In addition, leaky duct systems often make it necessary to install oversized heating and cooling systems, which are more expensive to buy and operate.
Because we spend up to 90% of our time indoors, the quality of the air in our homes is critical. Asthma, allergies, and odors have been linked to indoor air pollution. A recent scientific study found that 40% of children’s illnesses are caused by home environmental factors. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency calls “Indoor Air Pollution” the country’s leading environmental health concern. In many houses, duct leakage is the main cause of indoor air quality problems.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a typical duct system loses 25 to 40 percent of the heating or cooling energy put out by the central furnace, heat pump, or air conditioner. Homes with ducts in protected areas such as a basement may lose somewhat less than this, while some other types of systems (such as attic ducts in hot, humid climates) often lose more.
The Solution: A DUCT LEAKAGE TEST.
At Mena Air Conditioning and Heating, we can help. By using the latest in diagnostic tools we can find the leaks in your air conditioning duct system. By conducting a Duct Leakage Test we can easily determine if leaky ductwork is contributing to comfort problems and high utility bills in your home. We can then show you any problems found and also provide you with an estimate to SEAL YOUR DUCT SYSTEM.
Whether or not you decide to have the air ducts in your home cleaned, committing to a good preventive maintenance program is essential to minimize duct contamination.
To prevent dirt from entering the system:
Use the highest efficiency air filter recommended by the manufacturer of your heating and cooling system. Change filters regularly.
If your filters become clogged, change them more frequently.
Be sure you do not have any missing filters and that air cannot bypass filters through gaps around the filter holder.
When having your heating and cooling system maintained or checked for other reasons, be sure to ask the service provider to clean cooling coils and drain pans.
During construction or renovation work that produces dust in your home, seal off supply and return registers and do not operate the heating and cooling system until after cleaning up the dust.
Remove dust and vacuum your home regularly. (Use a high-efficiency vacuum (HEPA) cleaner or the highest efficiency filter bags your vacuum cleaner can take. Vacuuming can increase the amount of dust in the air during and after vacuuming as well as in your ducts).
If your heating system includes in-duct humidification equipment, be sure to operate and maintain the humidifier strictly as recommended by the manufacturer.
To prevent ducts from becoming wet:
Moisture should not be present in ducts. Controlling moisture is the most effective way to prevent biological growth in air ducts.
Moisture can enter the duct system through leaks or if the system has been improperly installed or serviced. Research suggests that condensation (which occurs when a surface temperature is lower than the dew point temperature of the surrounding air) on or near cooling coils of air conditioning units is a major factor in moisture contamination of the system. The presence of condensation or high relative humidity is an important indicator of the potential for mold growth on any type of duct. Controlling moisture can often be difficult, but here are some steps you can take:
Promptly and properly repair any leaks or water damage.
Pay particular attention to cooling coils, which are designed to remove water from the air and can be a major source of moisture contamination of the system that can lead to mold growth. Make sure the condensate pan drains properly. The presence of substantial standing water and/or debris indicates a problem requiring immediate attention. Check any insulation near cooling coils for wet spots.
Make sure ducts are properly sealed and insulated in all non-air-conditioned spaces (e.g., attics and crawl spaces). This will help to prevent moisture due to condensation from entering the system and is important to make the system work as intended. To prevent water condensation, the heating and cooling system must be properly insulated.
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