When it comes to home heating, most people recognize the importance of having their furnace regularly maintained by a professional technician. This important step will go a long way toward preventing expensive breakdowns in the future. However, people often neglect to take care of an equally important aspect of a home's HVAC system — the ducts.
Over time, ducts are prone to work loose and develop cracks. Both of these issues contribute to heat loss and numerous other problems. If you would like to learn more about the importance of keeping your ducts properly maintained, then read on. This article will discuss three negative impacts of leaky ducts on your home.
1. Increased Heating Costs
The most immediate impact posed by leaky ducts is their effect on your bottom line. Duct leaks will cost you money. They allow heated air to escape into unused spaces — attics, crawlspaces, and the uninsulated gaps between your walls, to name a few.
The impact of leaks on an economic level simply cannot be overstated. Studies have estimated that duct leaks increase heating-related energy usage by up to 30 percent. This increase ties directly back to the amount of time your system spends running. Leaky ducts will require your furnace to run for longer in order to achieve a given heating task, which drives up the amount of fuel consumed.
2. Increased Repair Costs
Leaky ducts won't just cost you more with regards to fuel consumption. Over time, they will also drive up the cost of repairs to your furnace. As noted above, the loss of heated air will cause your system to have to work overtime. This naturally leads to an increased rate of wear and tear — making your furnace more susceptible expensive breakdowns.
Such breakdowns tend to stem from certain mechanical components. The longer your furnace runs, the more its blower belt will become frayed and brittle until it eventually breaks. This will leave your system unable to circulate warm air until a technician can install a new belt.
Internal ball bearings also receive a beating from an overworked furnace. These can be even more involved to replace, as the furnace must be disassembled to a much greater degree. Such repairs are not only costly but should they be necessary in the middle of winter, they can be quite an unpleasant interruption as well.
3. Decreased Air Quality
Leaky ducts mean dirtier air inside of your home. In turn, that means there’s a greater chance that you or your family will suffer from allergies and other respiratory problems. Duct leaks lead to decreased air quality when they happen on the supply side of the duct system — the part that’s responsible for taking air from your home and moving it back through the HVAC system.
Return ducts operate with what is known as a negative pressure differential. This means that the pressure inside of these ducts is less than the pressure of the air that surrounds them. As a result, air will be sucked into the ducts from the higher pressure areas, which are unused spaces like attics and crawlspaces. As you can imagine, these areas contain massive amounts of dust and airborne debris.
Don't be fooled into think that your home is free from HVAC problems just because your furnace continues to work. Leaky ducts are an often overlooked source of problems. If you would like to learn more about what a professional can do to help keep duct leaks at bay, feel free to contact the experts at C.B. Lucas and schedule the services of an experienced contractor.