Fixing Duct Problems Can Improve Your Indoor Air Quality

Fixing Duct Problems Can Improve Your Indoor Air QualityIndoor air quality is only as healthy as the state of your ductwork. In a typical residence, about 1,400 cubic feet of conditioned air circulates through the ducts every minute. Ideally, all of it gets where it’s supposed to go, at the right temperature and appropriately filtered. Where the ductwork is less than ideal, household comfort, energy efficiency and optimum indoor air quality all take a hit. Here are four things that can go wrong in your home’s hidden spans of ductwork.

Return Duct Leaks

Return ductwork draws air out of rooms and sends it back to the air conditioner or furnace. Because returns operate under negative pressure, any duct leakage sucks external air into the conditioned airflow. Often that’s air from the attic, crawl space and interior wall voids that you’d prefer not to breathe. Mold, bacteria, insulation fibers and other pollutants pulled into the ducts may be dispersed throughout the house, degrading overall air quality.

Supply Duct Leaks

When the volume of air entering a room through supply ducts is less than the volume removed by the returns due to leakage along the way, the room becomes depressurized. Natural forces always work to equalize pressure imbalances. Unfiltered and perhaps unhealthy air from outdoors or from elsewhere in the structure infiltrates through tiny cracks and gaps, tainting the indoor environment.

Toxic Backdrafting

If supply duct leakage is severe, the entire home may become depressurized. Outdoor air flowing in to equalize the pressure imbalance may reverse the flow of gases exhausted by the furnace, water heater and stove vents. Hazardous carbon monoxide (CO) may be pulled back into living spaces instead of being safely vented outdoors.

Excess Humidity

In addition to unfiltered air, duct leaks may draw in unconditioned air that bypassed the dehumidification function of the A/C evaporator coil. Excess water vapor accumulating in indoor air not only triggers mold growth and bacteria, but it also retains heat, making you crank down the thermostat excessively to feel cool, raising operating costs.

Serving Terre Haute since 1922, Paitson Bros. is here to improve your indoor air quality with professional ductwork inspection and repair.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Terre Haute, Indiana about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about indoor air quality and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “solarseven/Shutterstock”

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    Jeff Paitson Jeff Paitson is a third generation business owner who continues to run the business with the same values that have been passed down from previous generations since 1922.

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