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How One Hidden Part of Your Home May Be Costing You
When we're done using our heaters for the winter, we tend to feel some relief knowing the constant need for heat won't drive up our bills. But the air conditioning season is coming up in full force, and you're going to need nearly as much energy as you did back then. For the most part, you can expect your bills to run higher when you're using heating and cooling equipment the most during extreme temperatures. However, one hidden part of your home may be forcing you to spend way more on air conditioning than you should. The air ducts hide behind walls and in the ceiling. After all, you wouldn't want these metal tubes interfering with the decor in your home. However, that makes your home susceptible to leaks that you'll never know about unless you hire an HVAC technician for an inspection.
Most Ducts Leak
Here's an unfortunate fact about the ducts responsible for ensuring air is delivered to the living spaces in our homes: most of them are leaking! That means air may move out into your insulation, out through the ceiling, or through to a crawlspace, rather than into your living spaces. And that means that your air conditioner is using up more energy than it needs to. In fact, it's probable that about 20-30% of the cool air moving through your ducts gets lost along the way. Typically, this is due to cracks in the connections of your ductwork, although ducts may corrode or develop small holes. They can even collapse entirely.
Duct Leaks Are Difficult to Find
There are many signs that can point you to a potential duct leak, or several duct leaks throughout your heating and cooling system. For example:
Some rooms of the home take longer to cool than others.
You feel warm or cold spots in certain rooms of the home.
Your energy bills are steadily increasing.
However, it will be difficult for you to actually see where the ductwork has formed a hole, unless your ducts are exposed (which typically only happens on commercial properties). And chances are, there are several holes throughout the ducts--not just one. Professional duct testing is the way to go. They can perform a pressure test to show you just how much air you're missing out on, along with an estimate for sealing the ducts.
Professionals Can Seal Your Ducts
There are a few different ways to seal ductwork. Sometimes, technicians will use mastics and tapes that are safer than standard duct tape (do not use this!). But a few technicians are able to offer Aeroseal duct sealing. Aeroseal is an innovative method of sealing ducts that uses small particles of epoxy. Technicians first seal up all of the vents in the home and securely attach a piece of equipment to a single opening. This equipment shoots out the epoxy, which "searches" for holes throughout the ducts. Epoxy slowly gathers around a crack in the ducts, and continues to collect and build up until it is sealed. This is one of the most effective means of sealing your ducts!
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