Your furnace may generate heat for your home, but it would not be able to do much without a delivery system. This is where your duct system comes into play. While many people focus on buying the most efficient furnace they can afford, ducts can easily be neglected. Nevertheless, ducts play an important role in how efficient your heating system is. In fact, leaky ducts can reduce your overall system efficiency by up to 40%. Thus, it is important to maintain your ducts.
How Do Ducts Develop Leaks?
Two different factors can create leaks in a duct system:
1. The air flowing through ducts does not simply try to move in a forward direction. Instead, it pushes out against the walls of your ducts, and as the walls push back, the air is forced to flow forward. Nonetheless, the outward pressure exerted by the air can wear out the seals at the joints between sections of ducts and create leaks.
2. The second factor working against ducts is the fact that when hot air from the furnace is not running through them, the air in your house is cooling your ducts down. Thus, your ducts are caught in a constant cycle of heating and cooling. This means that the metal your ducts are made from is constantly expanding as it heats up and contracting as it cools down. This constant movement can also undermine the integrity of your ducts.
How Do You Check for Leaks?
If your ducts run through your attic or crawlspace, you can check for leaks with a stick of incense. Simply, turn your thermostat to the fan position, light the incense, and then run it along the joints in your ducts. If you find anyplace where the air escaping from your ducts disturbs the smoke coming from your incense, mark the spot with a permanent marker. If you have ducts running behind the drywall inside your home, you will need to call a duct company to inspect your ducts for you.
To make repairs to exposed ducts, use a paintbrush to paint duct mastic over the marks you made during your inspection. If you contacted a duct company to inspect your ducts, they should review the results of their inspection with you, and then make repairs as needed.
If you feel like you are not getting enough efficiency from your heating system, remember that heat delivery is just as important as heat production. For more information, contact companies like Butler Heating & Air.