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When your home was built or when your central air conditioning or heating system was installed, the ducts were placed within the walls, attics and crawl spaces of your home. Their location may have been determined by a number of factors. Primarily for aesthetic purposes but also to make use of space that was otherwise unused. Often these are the worst locations for the duct work from an efficiency standpoint. Think, about it, the most common place for the central AC system is in an unconditioned, vented attic. On a hot day in the summer your attic might be 140-deg F. Convenient for the builder and architect, a dumb place for an efficient system.
Improving the Efficiency of your System and Ductwork
There is a lot we can do to improve the efficiency of the system. When ducts are initially installed there may be small gaps where the sections are joined. While the gaps may seem a minor issue at first sight, the issues they cause are serious, and include:
- Gaps in the supply ducts, which take the conditioned air from the handler to the various rooms in the house, allows the conditioned air to leak out resulting in less than optimal results.
- Gaps in the return ducts, which flow back from the various rooms in the house to the air handler, allows unconditioned air to mix with the air we are breathing. This could mean the possible introduction of dust, allergens and even mold into the living spaces of the house.
- As attic temperatures can sometimes reach 140 degrees in the summer, uninsulated ducts have to work harder to deliver cold air throughout the house.
- Conversely, gaps in the heating ducts in attics and crawl spaces means that some of the heat you are paying for is heating spaces it should not.
Ductwork gaps we have encountered. All cause Central AC units to work harder and less efficiently.