The National Comfort Institute reports that the average U.S. duct system is only 57% efficient. Even a top-of-the-line, highly efficient furnace is not enough to overcome a problem with your home’s ductwork. The air ducts deliver the heated air throughout your home, ideally keeping all rooms evenly warm and comfortable. While several issues could affect your system’s ability to sufficiently heat your home, the role of the air ducts is important enough to warrant investigating whether that’s where the problem lies.
Here are 5 common reasons your ductwork may be failing to provide your home with adequate heat:
1. Improper duct seals or insulation
Gaps or cracks in your air ducts allow the heated air to leak into the attic, basement or crawl spaces in your home and never make it into the living areas. Most homes have duct leaks. In fact, the average home loses 20-40% of the circulating air through the ducts. That’s a lot of wasted energy! Having your ducts sealed will vastly improve both your comfort level and your system’s energy efficiency. It will also lessen the wear and tear on your furnace which has to work harder to overcome the losses due to leaks. Lastly, leaks in your air ducts allow dust and other pollutants into your home. Properly sealed ducts deliver cleaner air, improving your indoor air quality. Sufficient insulation also reduces the amount of heat loss.
2. Incorrect size of duct system
The ductwork in your home is how the heated air is supplied to your rooms and then returned to the furnace to be heated again. If the ductwork is the wrong size, it cannot maintain the required airflow to efficiently and effectively heat your home.
3. Duct system that has excessive static pressure
The push of the air through the ducts must be greater than the resistance exerted against it in order for the air to flow freely. Too much resistance, also known as static pressure, requires your furnace to work harder to circulate the air through the ducts, and less heated air makes it into your rooms.
4. Insufficient air returns
In order for your furnace to produce and circulate sufficient heat, an adequate supply of air must be circulated back to the furnace. This happens through the air return vents. Without enough air returns, your furnace will have less air to heat and send back into your home. Insufficient air returns can also cause your furnace to run too hot and cause premature failure. It’s best to keep all returns clear and supply registers open.
5. Imbalance in the duct system, causing pressure build-up
Leaky ducts, insufficient air return vents, or a poorly designed system can cause an imbalance in air pressure that manifests with what might seem like a paranormal event: doors swinging open or slamming shut on their own, doors that are unusually difficult to open, hot or cold spots, and perhaps scariest of all, high utility bills due to wasted energy. This can also cause excessive dust to build up in the home.
If you are experiencing any of these issues, contact Indoor Air Quality today to have your ductwork inspected and evaluated. IAQ serves homes in Highlands Ranch and throughout the Denver Metro Area.