One of the most common sources of discomfort, poor indoor air quality, and high energy bills in the typical North American home is leaky and poorly insulated ducts. It’s a problem that is often overlooked — after all, ducts are typically behind walls. But it’s also a problem that can be solved. If you are a homeowner or building owner in King, Pierce, Thurston, Island or Snohomish County in Washington State, Crawlspaces and Attics NW can help you solve this common problem cost-effectively and efficiently.
Your air duct system conveys forced heat and cooling into your home. It also conveys any pollutants and debris that may be present inside your ducts. The pollutants and debris accumulation in the ducts when combined with moisture, can stick to the duct walls and become a breeding ground for mold, mildew, and other micro-organisms. Breathing dust and micro-organism on a regular bases can compromise your health. Cleaning your ducts ensures that the air circulating into your home is healthy, safe, and free of pollutants.
Why Air Duct Integrity is Important:
Heated and cooled air from your HVAC system are delivered into your home by a system of ducts hidden inside your walls, ceilings, attic and crawl space.
Efficient and pollutant free delivery of clean warm or cool air depends on the condition of your ductworks.
Healthy ducts should be completely connected, well-sealed, insulated and clean. Breaches in your air duct system will hinder the efficiency of your system, can disrupt air delivery to some rooms, cause damage to your home’s structure, and pollute the air in your home.
Potential problems caused by compromised ductwork:
- Energy loss resulting in higher energy bills.
- Disruption of flow to some or all rooms.
- Presence of warm air in the crawl space and/or attic attracts comfort seeking critters such as rodents, squirrels, birds and bats.
- Warm or cool air from the ductworks carries moisture with it. This moisture can weaken and swell wood, cause mildew, invite termites, and cause unpleasant odors.
- Unsealed and/or disconnected duct sections allow pollutants from the crawl space and attic into your kitchen, bedroom and living room. Those pollutants may include fungi spores, rodent droppings particles, harmful insulation fiber, odors, and cold or warm air.
What are Common Duct Types?
There are a few different types of ducts:
GALVANIZED METAL DUCTS:
Galvanized metal ducts are manufactured in sections and configured according to each home’s specific structure during construction. The sections are fitted together, then sealed, and finally insulated to prevent heat loss. They wind their way behind the walls, above the ceiling, through the crawl space and the attic. They start at the furnace/AC unit, and end at a vent in each room.
During the years, due to weather, settling of the house and critter activity in the crawl space – the section sealing wears out and cracks form, letting warm or cooled air out, and critters and odors in. In locations susceptible to earth quakes, this process is accelerated, and often duct sections completely separate. (A mouse can pass through a dime size opening). Excess moisture can corrode the edges and cause gaps between the sections as well.
Flex ducts are made of ribbed foil, and are used in tight spaces. They are available in a range of grades, beginning from a basic duct to pre-insulated.
In the above left photo rodents burrowed through loose insulation and gnawed their way into the duct in search of a good nesting place. Air coming into your home has passed through theirs first…
Due to the soft, light and flexible nature of the duct – it moves more freely, loosening insulation in the process. Frequent repetitive movement can cause tears. Loose insulation, tears and cracks allow heat loss to your home, higher energy bills, and the creation of a warm and inviting environment for more rodents.
Moisture can also seep out into your attic and crawl space – creating a good environment for fungi, causing unpleasant odors, and swelling structural wood.
Above right: Flex ducts should be inspected yearly for cracks and holes. Securing them to place is important.
If your ducts have been identified as made of asbestos – they should be replaced. Asbestos is hazardous to your health and you should not be breathing asbestos fibers.
The removal of Asbestos ducting has to be done by certified companies.
Once the ducting is removed and the environment is certified as clean – Galvanized metal or flex ducts can be installed by any duct repair company.
The dryer duct is the pathways through which the heat and moisture from your laundry dryer exit your home. Dryer ducts are normally flex-ducts. When very long and wind around corners with 90 degree elbows – they often get clogged. Our Summit Clean Air technicians often re-rout dryer ducts to make them shorter. We also add secondary lint traps and fan boosters if shortening the duct is not structurally possible.
Air Duct Repair:
At Summit Clean Air we recommend a periodic duct inspection. We believe that a simple annual inspection can prevent daunting and expensive problems.
We repair and/or replace small duct sections, re-seal, re-insulation, or replace large sections of damaged duct systems.