Air ducts play an important role in your HVAC system’s operation. When something happens to your ducts, the consequences can be felt and sometimes heard throughout your home. As your HVAC system ages, duct connections can loosen and separate, allowing conditioned air to escape.
Loose ducts can happen for a variety of reasons, but adhesive failure brought on by old age or excess humidity is one of the most common causes. Accidental damage caused during repairs and remodeling, as well as damage caused by small rodents, can also lead to loose ductwork.
The following takes a look at how loose ducts can impact your HVAC system and its ability to keep your home comfortable.
Your heater or air conditioner might be up and running, but loose ducts can make your HVAC system feel as if it’s barely working. Loose ducts can cause conditioned air to go elsewhere, resulting in very weak airflow. In most cases, you’ll feel only a faint breeze as you place your hand against the supply air vent.
Without strong and steady airflow through your ducts, you’ll end up with one or more rooms that simply aren’t heated or cooled effectively. These hot or cold spots make it hard to stay comfortable in your home.
You might not be able to see loose ductwork, but chances are it’ll make itself heard at some point. Loose ducts often create a variety of strange noises, especially as conditioned air travels through the duct system. Keep your ears open for the following noises:
- Rattling sounds – Loose metal ducts can knock and rattle against each other, leading to tell-tale rattling noises.
- Wheezing sounds – Gaps caused by disconnected ducts can lead to wheezing or low-pitched whistling as air rushes through.
- Shakes and vibrations – Some shakes and vibrations are caused by normal metal expansion and contraction, but loose ducts can also cause those noises.
- Other noises, like occasional popping and ticking noises, are perfectly normal. However, additional insulation and damping can help reduce or even stop these noises completely.
Poor Indoor Air Quality
A stuffy, uncomfortable home isn’t the only downside of living with loose ducts. Ductwork that’s properly sealed not only keeps conditioned air in but also keeps dust and debris out. Your HVAC air filter acts as a gatekeeper of sorts, preventing dust and debris from entering the HVAC system and the ductwork in the first place.
Loose ducts can siphon dust-laden air from attics, crawl spaces, and inner walls directly into the duct system, bypassing the air filter entirely. The end result is contaminated air that spreads to nearly every room in your home. Your home’s indoor air quality takes a hit, and those suffering from allergies and asthma can end up with itchy eyes, runny noses, and a host of other unwanted symptoms.
Higher Energy Bills
Loose air ducts not only make your home feel uncomfortable but also cost you more when it comes to your annual energy consumption. Loose ducts cause your HVAC system to work harder and longer to keep your home at a comfortable temperature. The more energy your HVAC system uses, the more you’ll pay in energy costs.
Loose ducts can cause as much as 30 percent of your HVAC system’s airflow to vanish into crawl spaces, walls, and other unconditioned spaces.
By Carolina Ductmasters