It’s springtime and a wide variety of creepy crawling critters are making their grand entrances in places you wouldn’t expect – including your HVAC system. Live bugs are bad enough, but the larvae, droppings and shed skins they leave behind can also do a number on HVAC components, not to mention your home’s air quality.
As your mind moves towards bug removal, don’t forget that your HVAC system also has a few tricks to keep nasty and annoying insects at bay.
One way your HVAC can actually help control pests is by controlling excess moisture. Humid areas can offer an abundance of water to parched insects, making such areas nearly irresistible to invade. In cooling mode, your HVAC system removes excess moisture from the air as a byproduct of the cooling process. Simply running your air conditioner on humid days can help balance your home’s humidity, which in turn also improves its indoor air quality.
Maintenance is essential for the health and longevity of your HVAC system. It’s also a great way to keep your HVAC system bug-free. In addition to the regularly scheduled maintenance offered by your technician, here are a few things you can …
Few home improvement projects offer as many benefits as duct sealing does. Leaking ducts cause high energy bills, poor indoor air quality (IAQ) and may even pose health risks. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that the typical home may lose from 20 to 30 percent of its conditioned air due to ductwork problems, chief among which is leakage.
Cuts Energy Costs
When ducts run through unconditioned spaces and they leak, that air you’ve paid to condition enters the attic, crawl space, or basement, where it’s wasted. It will cost more to heat and cool your home depending on the size and extent of the leakage. A sudden increase in heating costs can indicate a ductwork problem, and costs will remain high until the duct is sealed.
If the leak is in the return ductwork, problems with your HVAC system could develop, since it relies on a specific amount of air flowing into it for the best energy efficiency. Low airflow in a gas furnace can even trigger a safety switch that turns the system off until it cools down.
Improves Air Quality
One of the household systems that many of us tend to take for granted is ductwork — the network of large, usually square pipes that distributes conditioned air throughout the house, and then returns it to HVAC equipment to be reheated or cooled. At some point in the life of your home, you’ll have to address old ductwork that’s no longer doing its job. If you know some of the signals of aging ductwork, you can repair or replace it before it starts wasting energy and eroding home comfort.
What Happens When Aging Ductwork Fails?
Ductwork that’s been in a home for 15-20 years or longer is prone to gradual failure, with leaks developing between connections and in other places. Ducts leaking heated or cooled air into unconditioned spaces such as crawl spaces, wall cavities and the basement forces the HVAC system to work harder to make up for the lost air. It wastes energy, erodes comfort and stresses equipment.
Leaky ductwork also can be prone to backdrafting, a phenomenon where dirty or contaminated air (or even carbon monoxide) gets sucked into holes in the ducts, then is circulated into household air.
The air duct system plays a vital role in your home’s forced-air heating and cooling system. Without it, there’s no way for conditioned air to circulate throughout your home. However, there’s another aspect of a typical ductwork system that some people (including housing contractors) sometimes don’t consider sufficiently, the return air ducts.
A forced-air HVAC system begins with the equipment heating the air, or removing heat energy from the air for cooling. A powerful blower fan pushes air through the furnace or A/C, and then through ducts to rooms all over the house, where it comes out of registers and vents. The same fan that pushes the air draws it back into the equipment via return registers and return air ducts.
How these registers and ducts are placed and designed plays a key role in how well your forced-air delivery system works.
There should be roughly the same amount of air moving through supply ducts as return ducts. Otherwise, air pressure in rooms loses its neutrality, and when that pressure becomes too high as a result of too much supply and not enough return, the air has to go somewhere. Often that’s outside of the house through cracks in the …
How tight are your HVAC ducts? If you’re among the majority of homeowners, you probably don’t know the answer. Ductwork is usually out of sight, in an attic, a wall or a crawl space and can be difficult to reach and evaluate. Tight ducts are essential for efficiently heating a home, so your ductwork should be inspected and repaired, if necessary, every few years.
How Ductwork Deteriorates
The ductwork installed in a new home is usually not the best quality, so can’t be expected to perform well for more than a few years. Over time, ducts will start to deteriorate, with sections coming apart, tears and cracks appearing, and in the case of flexible ducting, becoming twisted. Construction projects involving the attic or crawl space may result in damage to the ducts without you being aware of it.
The efficiency of your HVAC system depends on many factors, including the ability of the system to deliver air by means of an airtight system of ductwork. If your ducts are not tight, air will leak out in unconditioned spaces. According to government figures, as much as 30 percent of conditioned air in a typical residence is lost through leaks in ductwork. …