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Leaky Ducts: Signs, Symptoms & What To Do About Them

Living in Florida takes its toll on a house’s HVAC system. You’re probably used to your AC working hard on hot summer days. But have you ever thought that maybe your AC is working harder than it needs to? Or about how much energy might be getting lost in your ducts? Worse yet, how much humid and dusty air might be sneaking in?

Faulty ducts can lead to a host of unwanted problems – from an unnecessary spike in energy bills to poor indoor air quality. How do you spot the signs and symptoms of leaky ducts, and what can you do about them?

How To Identify Leaky Ducts

Aeroseal System To Seal Your Ductwork

1. Rooms with Uncomfortable Temperatures 

Do certain rooms feel too cold in the winter or too hot in the summer – regardless of how much you fiddle with your thermostat? Inconsistent temperatures can be an indicator of leaky ducts because the conditioned air pumped out by your HVAC system escapes through the leaks, leading to less temperature control in places the leaky duct should reach. Since your ductwork is in your attic, this cooled air is cooling your attic – you may as well just open a window in your house.

If the living room feels like a refrigerator while the bedrooms are a sauna, leaky ducts might be the culprit.

2. Spike In Energy Expenses

A leaky air duct can cause a sudden unexplained increase in your power bill. When ducts have leaks your HVAC system has to work harder to offset the lost air, meaning it uses more energy.

Look out for your HVAC system running for longer intervals, especially if the air coming out is the right temperature but the house isn’t. A problem with the unit itself can cause longer run times and less efficiency, but you’ll probably be able to tell that the air isn’t being conditioned as it should be.

3. Poor Indoor Air Quality 

Is there dust on your furniture more frequently? Are someone in your household’s allergies flaring up?

A gap in your ductwork can pull dust and other contaminants into your home. The air quality around Pasco County is often heavy with pollutants from the highway and mold and pollen from the humidity and marshy areas.

4. Unusual Noises

If you hear a faint yet constant hissing or whistling when your AC runs, it may be air escaping from small holes or cracks in your ducts. Although you most likely won’t notice or hear these from the attic. Clanging and banging sounds are likely a sign of ductwork that’s not properly secured or has come loose.

DIY Solutions for Leaky Ducts

There are some things you can do yourself about leaky ducts, but keep in mind that they are only effective for minor leaks. If you do not know what you are doing, you could make the problem worse by causing bigger holes or tears in your ductwork. If this happens, then a simple fix may not be possible and a full replacement may be required.

  • Mastic Sealant: This is a popular DIY solution for sealing minor duct leaks. Just turn off your HVAC unit and apply it around the duct joints using a disposable paintbrush. Wait for the sealant to dry, which typically takes about 4 to 6 hours, before turning your AC back on.
  • Duct Tape: Contrary to its name, duct tape actually isn’t a great fix for leaky ducts, as it tends to lose its adhesiveness over time, particularly under hot, moist Florida conditions. Nevertheless, it can be a helpful short-term solution for small leaks. Be sure to buy high-quality duct tape designed for duct sealing and cover the leaky area completely. If you’re looking to use tape as a temporary solution, know that this may cause your entire duct to eventually need to be replaced as the tape could further damage the ductwork.

When to Seek Professional Help for Leaky Ducts

While DIY methods can be a short-term fix for minor leaks, they are unlikely to totally resolve the issue. The experts at Millian Aire AC & Heating have specialized equipment and years of experience, so we can handle the complex aspects of ductwork repairs.

Here is when to give us a call:

  • Extensive damage: If the ductwork is severely damaged with large gaps or holes give us a call. Patching a large area on your own can lead to future problems and it’s impossible to cover it all without the right tools.
  • Hard-to-reach leaks: Duct leaks are often in difficult-to-reach areas or spaces like attics or within walls. We can easily access these areas without causing damage to your property or ducts.
  • Recurring issues: If you’ve tried DIY attempts to fix your ducts and it’s not working, get a professional. Lots of patches and home duct cleaning attempts can damage your ducts further.
  • Mold or pests: Mold or pests in your ducts is a serious problem that needs the attention of a professional. Pests can cause damage to the system, and mold and pest waste contaminate the air, leading to health concerns.

The risks of incorrectly addressing a leaky duct issue far outweigh the short-term money-saving of DIY repair. We will ensure repairs are done correctly, saving you from more costly repairs or system replacements down the line.

Flexible ductwork in the attic of a house in Florida

How Can Millian Aire Repair Your Ductwork?

We provide a comprehensive care service for your air ducts. We use a system called AeroSeal to eliminate leaks without invasive methods like cutting into walls or ceilings. 

Aeroseal duct repair relies on air pressure from within the ducts to force minuscule adhesive particles into small holes and cracks. As the air leaks through gaps or fissures, the adhesive particles stick to the rim of the leak and accumulates until they have totally sealed the hole.

Once the gaps are sealed, we use a ULV (Ultra Low Volume) fogger to decontaminate your duct system with a powerful but natural thyme oil-derived fog. It neutralizes a wide array of bacteria, viruses, including coronaviruses, and molds for up to two years.

Helpful Tips to Maintain Your Ductwork

Prevention is always better than cure. Here are a few tips to maintain your ducts and prevent leaks from happening:

  1. Regular inspection: Regularly inspect your ductwork. Look for any obvious signs of damage like rust and holes or spots where insulation has come loose.
  2. Proactive sealing: If you suspect a small leak, be proactive and seal it up quickly. Tiny leaks can rapidly turn into bigger problems if left unattended.
  3. Keep your ducts clean: Regular cleaning prevents the buildup of dust and debris, which may result in wear and tear.
  4. Professional inspection: Have your ductwork professionally inspected at least once a year to catch any hidden issues before they become bigger problems.

Contact Millian Aire for Duct Repair

We’re happy to fix your ducts for you, completely and at a fair price. Sign up for our maintenance plan and feel confident knowing that the technicians at Millian Aire AC & Heating will rigorously clean and inspect your duct system, identifying issues like cracks, dust accumulation, and moisture before they cause problems.

We’ll conduct a comprehensive examination of your entire HVAC system, looking for leaks, unstable connections, impaired coils, and faulty parts. Investing in regular cleaning and professional maintenance from Millian Aire is a proactive step towards maintaining an efficient and healthy HVAC system for years on end.

Don’t wait for your leaky ducts to overwork your HVAC unit until it breaks down, or for mold, allergens, and other pollutants to cause health problems for your family. Give us a call for any duct repair questions you may have.

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