For a central air conditioner or furnace, air ducts are the most important component, but perhaps the least understood. While homeowners are often asking questions about how the air conditioner itself works, they might not realize how much work goes into taking the air from the air conditioner and sending it through the vents in the home. In this post, we’ll go over some facts about air ducts that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Air Ducts Can Be Flexible or Rigid
Air ducts are commonly thought of as a series of rectangular, aluminum vents. They’re commonly seen on the ceilings of buildings, in parking garages, and other commercial settings. In the home, however, ducts are typically concealed.
While some homes may use these rectangular metal ducts, it’s also common to see flexible, tube-shaped ducts. These ducts consist of metal coils wrapped with plastic. The benefit of these materials is that it’s easier to lay them through tight spaces, like the attics and crawl spaces found in homes.
Air Ducts Require a Tight Seal
In order for air ducts to function properly, they need to maintain a tight seal. After installing a set of ducts, an HVAC technician will use a machine to test the pressure of the ductwork. This can help them eliminate any leaks or disconnects.
It might seem obvious why tight seals are needed. Without them, the air won’t be able to go from the HVAC system to the rooms. However, many homeowners forget that these seals can come undone naturally over time, resulting in wasted energy.
Weak seals can also lead to poor indoor air quality. The leaks can pull in dust and dirt from inside the attic, which can then be distributed through the ductwork. Annual maintenance along with air conditioning services in Bronx, NY will help to keep the duct seals in check.
Air Ducts Can Get Dirty
Homes accumulate, on average, about 40 lbs of dust annually. Of course, homes dusted regularly will never see the accumulation of all that dust. However, a small fraction of that dust will be circulated back into the ducts, where it won’t be cleaned up. At first, some dust in the ducts isn’t an immediate threat. But over the years, dust can gradually stack up in the ductwork and eventually become an indoor air quality issue.
One problem, however, is if the ducts are exposed to humidity. The moisture in the ducts can combine with the dust and dirt, thus encouraging the growth of mold. Mold spores transported through the ducts and into the home is an indoor air quality issue that can’t be ignored.
However, it’s important to refrain from letting an amateur perform duct cleaning. Not only can reckless movements in the ducts cause them to tear or become loose, but improper duct cleaning techniques can loosen up the dust further. This creates an even bigger indoor air quality issue by allowing more dust to float freely through the ducts.