There are many things that can affect Indoor air quality. You may already know about some of them, such as humidity levels and incorrect HVAC settings. In this blog, air cooling and heating contractor Cal Air shares a look at a lesser-known component that also affects indoor air quality: leaky ducts.
How Leaky Ducts Affect Indoor Air Quality
Duct leaks are out of sight, and therefore not easily noticed. Leaks typically happen at the joints and seams, though damage to other parts can occur. The following can happen if the ductwork develops leaks:
- Unfiltered Air Mixes With Conditioned Air — A typical HVAC system begins at the return register, where stale air is pulled into the HVAC intake vents, filtered and blown through heating or cooling coils. Outside air, introduced through doors and windows, gets filtered first before being introduced into the heating or cooling cycle. Leaks in the ducts introduce air from rarely-used areas such as the attic, basement and crawl spaces, which can affect indoor air quality.
- Increased Risk of Backdrafting — Combustion appliances like ovens, chimneys and furnaces emit byproducts, which are released through a flue or chimney. Backdrafts happen when negative air pressure pulls these byproducts back in. Backdrafts pose a serious problem because pollutants such as carbon monoxide may infiltrate indoor spaces. Whether you set the air conditioner fan to “on” or “auto”, it will still circulate inside your home.
- Reduced Humidity Control — Leaks in the ductwork can introduce moisture into your indoor living space, which can cause an imbalance in relative indoor humidity. This could result in mold and mildew growth where it doesn’t normally occur. In any case, you’ll need to call a professional if you suspect leaks in the ductwork.
How Leaking Ducts Are Fixed
The first step in fixing duct leaks is determining the extent of the leaks. In severe cases, it would be more practical to perform a partial or full replacement. If it’s repairable, the ducts will be isolated and negative air pressure will be generated. A mechanical brush will be used to agitate dust and particulates, which will be sucked by the negative pressure into a waiting filter or dust bag. Finally, sealant will be applied using a spray system.
Spray sealant isn’t always guaranteed to work, given its application method. This is why we at Cal Air chose to offer Aeroseal, a sealant dispersed as an aerosol. Aeroseal particles cling to holes in the ductwork, which builds up until all holes are sealed.
Call Cal Air for Your HVAC Needs
Cal Air is your leading provider of heating and cooling services. If you suspect you have leaking ducts or have other problems like your gas heater making hissing noises, give us a call at (702) 550-1435. You can also fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment.