The duct system is an area where allot of houses are deficient. Ducts that look in good shape can still be leaky and duct tape is pretty much useless after a while. According to the EPA on average 20% of the air in your ducts leaks out. That’s air that you paid to heat or cool that is lost to the outside. But wait there’s more. The fan in the furnace is going to suck the same amount of air in that it pushed out. That means the 20% you lost to your crawl space or attic is going to be made up by outside air that is getting sucked back in through leaks in the home and that air needs to be conditioned now. Gaps in the ducts also allow wind and things like dirt in the wind to make its way into the duct. If there is a leak on the return it can suck in dirt, insulation, and anything else around it. It’s a double whammy of wasted energy. No matter how good your furnace or A/C is waste is waste. Why pay to condition air when it doesn’t get where you needed it?
The other deficiency is poorly or un-insulated ducts. Just like your walls, crawl space, or attic the ducts are in need of insulation. The insulation not only keeps the air that went into the ducts the right temperature but the ducts are connected to the living space. Since ducts are basically part of the living space they can be a large failure in the air sealing and insulation of the home.
One of the seldom looked at part of the duct system is the quality of installation. Poorly installed ducts or modified sections can cause loss of air movement and high pressures. Friction loss or static loss prevents the fan from being able to evenly distribute the air in the ducts to the rooms. This can cause rooms to be too hot or too cold. It wastes energy and makes for less comfortable home.
We all take for granted we have ducts with a forced air system. Some older and even newer homes used parts of the home as ducts. Wall and floor cavities have been used over the years for instead of adding pipes. This might sound like a good idea but these areas are often very leaky and sometimes pretty dirty.
Getting an Energy Audit to evaluate the homes energy performance is well worth the money spent and will more than likely find energy wasting issues such as in your duct system. We use a high sophisticated tool called a duct blaster to check your duct system for leaks.