A good heating and air conditioning system can make your home a haven during hot summer days and cold winter nights. Keeping your system well maintained is a must to keep it in good condition, but it's easy to overlook the ductwork your system may rely upon to work. If you would like to know more about heating and cooling ducts, keep reading.
They Are Needed for Forced-Air Heating and Cooling
Ducts are needed for forced-air heating and cooling. So, if you have central air-conditioning, a furnace, or a heat pump, you probably have ducts hiding in your walls, floors, celling, attic, crawlspace, and basement. If you don't have a system that relies on ducts but you want to switch to one, you will need to have ducts installed, which could significantly boost the cost of your installation.
There are alternative options, however. A mini-split system does not need ducts to install. The system itself is often more expensive than forced-air systems, but you'll save money by not paying to install ducts.
They Can Lose Energy
The main problem with ducts is that they are often ignored, but over time they can develop gaps or holes. In fact, according to EnergyStar, about 20 to 30 percent of the air that travels through your ducts is lost before it even reaches you.
Naturally, this causes your energy bills to rise because you need to use more power to get the desired temperature. Luckily, you can counteract this issue with duct maintenance. A technician will use special metal tape to seal up holes and gaps, but they will also insulate parts of the duct.
For example, in the summer, your attic can get hot. If you have ducts in there, the heated air in the attic can leak into the ducts, heating the cooled air. By putting insulation around the ducts in the attic, you can keep the air cooler.
They Need Occasional Cleaning
Besides occasional maintenance, your ducts also need occasional cleaning. You can do some of this cleaning yourself at the vents with a standard vacuum, but that won't be enough to fully clean out the ducts. A professional can get all the debris that has built up inside the ducts.
This debris usually consists of lots of dust, but it may also contain pests and pest droppings. Even the dust, however, can be problematic. It coats the ducts to make them narrower, which makes it harder for air to pass through. To push the air, the system must work harder, which wears it down faster. Plus, all that dust can be expelled into your living space.
Air ducts are a necessary part of many heating and cooling systems, but they can be problematic if not well maintained. If your air conditioner seems less effective and efficient, it may be your ducts. If you would like to know more, contact an air conditioning services technician in your area today.