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A St. Louis Area Homeowner’s Guide to Duct Leaks

small_888747292Duct leaks are one of the most common sources of energy losses in St. Louis area homes. In fact, the EPA says that in the average home, 20 percent of the conditioned air that’s produced by a furnace or air conditioner is lost through leaks in the ductwork. So let’s take a look at what every homeowner should know about duct leaks in order to avoid losing energy in their homes.

How do duct leaks develop?

Duct leaks can develop in one of two ways. First, your duct system can be poorly installed to begin with. If this is the case, air could be leaking in and out due to loose connections between your ducts. Second, duct leaks can develop over time due to normal wear and tear in your home. A duct connection might slowly come loose or a duct could be punctured, creating openings in your ducts that allow air to escape.

When a duct leak occurs in a conditioned part of your home, conditioned air escapes before it gets to the rooms that need it. As a result, your HVAC system must work harder to heat and cool your home. When a duct leak occurs in an unconditioned part of your home, outside air can infiltrate your ducts and affect the temperature of your home as well as your indoor air quality.

What are some common symptoms of duct leaks?

Some of the most common symptoms of homes with leaky ducts include:

  • High energy bills
  • Uneven heating and cooling
  • Stuffy rooms
  • Excessive dust around your home
  • Poor indoor air quality

Safety concerns with duct leaks

It should be noted that along with affecting your home’s comfort levels, air quality and energy consumption, duct leaks can also pose a safety threat to your home. When a duct isn’t sealed properly, it can cause depressurization. When this happens near combustion products like your furnace, combustion gasses that are normally vented out of your home can backdraft back into your home’s air. Make sure that your home is properly equipped with carbon monoxide detectors so that your family can be warned if combustion gasses ever do build up in your home.

If you have any questions about duct leaks, or if you’d like your home’s ducts professionally inspected and sealed, contact Jerry Kelly, your St. Charles, MO, furnace repair company. We service the St. Louis area and surrounding cities like Ballwin, Maryland Heights and Weldon Spring.