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Exploring the True Cost of Leaky Air Ducts

Does your home have leaky air ducts? Air ducts are one of the main “ventilation” components of a heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) system. Even if the air conditioning system and furnace work flawlessly, your HVAC system’s performance will suffer with leaky air ducts. Leaky air ducts, in fact, can have several adverse effects on your HVAC system.

Loss of Conditioned Air

Leaky air ducts will result in less conditioned air entering your home’s living spaces. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), over two-thirds of all homes have leaky air ducts, which causes them to lose up to 30% of their conditioned air.

After being conditioned by the air conditioning system or furnace, air must flow through the ducts before entering your home’s living spaces. Leaky air ducts means that some of this conditioned air won’t reach your home’s living spaces. It will leak out of the ducts and into unoccupied areas, such as the attic, basement or crawlspace.

Decreased Comfort

Because they cause a loss of conditioned air, leaky air ducts can lead to decreased comfort. Your HVAC system may struggle to maintain a cool indoor temperature during the summer, and your furnace may struggle to maintain a warm indoor temperature during the winter. With leaky air ducts, some of the conditioned air will be lost.

Higher Energy Consumption

Your HVAC system will consume more energy with leaky air ducts. It will force you to run the air conditioning system or furnace for a longer period. And the longer these systems run, the more energy they’ll consume. As previously mentioned, leaky air ducts can make your HVAC system lose up to 30% of its conditioned air, in which case you can expect about 30% higher consumption.

Neglecting to get your leaky air ducts fixed can prove costly. Your HVAC system will consume more energy, so you’ll inevitably spend more money on utility bills to cool and warm your home.

Safety Hazard

In some cases, leaky air ducts can be a safety hazard. While most air ducts are designed to move conditioned air through your home, others are designed to ventilate combustion gases. Gas-powered appliances like water heaters, dryers and even furnaces produce combustion gases. These combustion gases must be vented to your home’s exterior.

Air ducts are typically used to ventilate combustion gases. If any of these ducts are leaky, the combustion gases may build up inside of your home where they pollute the air while creating a safety hazard.