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How Air Duct Problems Can Mess Up Your Home's Heating And Cooling

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Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) air ducts have two main functions — they supply fresh air to different rooms and return stale air back to the system. These functions may look simple, but they are central to your heating and cooling efficiency. Here are a few ways duct problems can interfere with your HVAC's operations.

Improper Design and Sizing

The size of the air ducts determines the volume of air they can handle. The design determines how fast the ducts can heat or cool different areas of the house. Get the sizing and design wrong, and you will end up with an inefficient heating and cooling system.

You don't have to worry about design or sizing problems if a professional technician installs your HVAC system. However, you can mess up your air ducts' design and sizing if you alter your house's design without renovating the heating and cooling system. For example, knocking down a wall or adding a room without working on the air ducts will interfere with their efficiency.

Inadequate Insulation

Ideally, your air ducts should be behind ceilings, walls, or floors. However, many air ducts also sit in attics, basements, and crawlspaces. Such unconditioned places expose the ducts, and by extension, the air circulating in the ducts, to outside temperature influences. The air inside the ducts can heat or cool, depending on the prevailing temperatures.

A good way to deal with the issue is to insulate the ducts thoroughly using adequate and appropriate insulation material. A heating and cooling technician should determine the right insulation to use and the ideal insulation thickness for your home. Otherwise, you will be wasting heating and cooling energy.


A typical air duct design makes use of multiple pieces of materials joined together. After some time, the joints can disconnect due to wear and tear. The disconnected joints can allow air to leak out of the ducts. Stale and contaminated air can also get into the ducts via the disconnections.

The same thing can happen if your ducts crack or develop holes due to corrosion or accidental damage. Apart from the inevitable impaired heating and cooling, the duct openings also foul up your indoor air.

The above points make it clear that your heating and cooling system need functional air ducts to work. Thus, don't forget about this part of your HVAC during regular maintenance. Otherwise, your house won't be comfortable even if the AC unit is functional.

For more information, reach out to an HVAC company like Nick Dolinic Heating & Cooling today.