You’d be hard pressed to find a homeowner in the Chicagoland area who doesn’t care how efficient their HVAC systems are. Given how much of our heating we use each year, it stands to reason that when the time comes to turn on our air conditioners, we want to do so as affordably as possible.
But what many individuals don’t think about, is the fact that the “V” part of HVAC plays a pivotal role in all of this. Your ventilation—your ductwork—connects your AC and forced-air heating systems to the outdoors, making the distribution of conditioned air possible. Your ducts are usually out of sight, hidden behind walls, beneath floors, or even in your attic or crawlspace. So, what happens if this ductwork was installed by an amateur, or it is aging to a point of degradation?
Be Aware of Possible Duct Damage
If your ductwork is riddled with leaks, poor connections, or even improper construction upon installation, you may experience issues that lead to poor air conditioning efficiency and repair needs. One of the most common installation mistakes that leads to damaged ductwork is improperly sized ductwork, which we’re going to expand on below.
What Happens When Your Ducts Aren’t Sized Correctly
First off, if your air ducts aren’t properly matched to your air conditioner (or your furnace or heat pump), you’ll likely notice it right away, since your air conditioner will be noisy due to the restriction or blockage of airflow. Unfortunately, though, too many homeowners chalk this up to, “that’s just the noise my HVAC system makes.” There is such thing as too noisy though, and that’s what we want you to consider here.
When your air ducts are too big for the space and the system for which they’re installed, it causes reduced airflow, resulting in uneven temperatures throughout your living space, as conditioned are won’t be able to reach all of your vents. Studies show that improper duct sizing and design can lead to as much as a 60% loss of cooling from your air conditioning (and your heating).
This is a strain on your energy usage of course. Subsequently, it’s a strain on your wallet, and bad news for your air conditioner. It’ll struggle to reach the desired temperature on your thermostat. As a result, your HVAC system will start aging rapidly and degrading faster than normal—leading to rapid repair needs for components such as motors, fan belts, and compressors. You could even find yourself facing premature HVAC system replacement, years before you would have to normally upgrade your system.
“Is This the Only Cause of Ductwork Damage?”
Nope! Poorly installed ductwork certainly is going to negatively impact your AC performance, but poor installation is not the only reason ducts accumulate damage. Your ducts may be damaged from rodents in your crawlspace or attic, repairs or construction done around the area of your ducts, and even intense summer temperatures in your attic if your ducts aren’t properly insulated.
Fortunately, if you do have a ductwork problem, our team is here to help. And don’t forget the power of annual maintenance (or biannual, if you have a heat pump) in helping our technicians spot problems before they become catastrophic HVAC emergencies.