Shipton's CleanAir Solutions Blog
Ducts are not the superstars of your typical heating and air conditioning system.
As supporting cast members, your ducts are out of the limelight. Only rarely does anyone think to see if they need to be cleaned, repaired or replaced.
But ducts have a really important job to do! They are responsible for getting your temperature-controlled indoor air to its final destination, clean and pristine and still just as warm (or cool) as when it sets out.
However, because air ducts generally can’t be easily seen or accessed, they are also rarely blamed when things go wrong. It is easy to misdiagnose a problem as arising from the furnace or A/C, only to get more and more frustrated when repeated repairs do not resolve the issue.
In this article, learn how to take care of your ducts this winter so they can keep taking care of you!
Ducts Are Top Energy Wasters in the HVAC System
If there is one award no HVAC component wants to win, it is “top energy waster.” And yet, according to industry news, that is exactly what the average duct system does. It wastes energy.
Up to 40 percent of the temperature-controlled air you pay for each day gets busy leaking out of the average air duct before it ever reaches its dedicated air register.
The average Canadian homeowner spends approximately $2,358 per year on energy. Sixty-four percent of that expense goes to air conditioning and heating. Forty percent of that is just over $600.
If you would like your $600 back (and then some), read on to find out what to do before winter – the most expensive HVAC season in Canada – rolls in again.
2 Steps to Fix Your Old, Leaking, Dirty Ducts
Up to 95 percent of older homes are outfitted with elderly, leaking air ducts. But since you can’t readily view your ducts, it is easy to blame the air filter or furnace for dust, dirt, odours and mould inside your home.
This is especially concerning during the winter season, when the air is often less humid, causing allergies and asthma, sinusitis, cold and flu cases to develop more easily.
Step 1: Duct Sealing: Repair and Insulate (or Replace)
The first step on the road toward duct efficiency is sealing. Imagine your duct system way back when it was brand-new. It was clean and shiny both outside and in. All of the individual ducts connected seamlessly to each other and the master air output.
The moment your HVAC system cycled on, forced air would blow through the ducts and absolutely none of it would leak out. Amazing, right?
This can all be yours again, but your duct system is going to need some help from you to get there.
Since ducts tend to be somewhat difficult to access, not all homeowners choose to tackle this project themselves, although it certainly can be done. Otherwise, your professional HVAC technician can perform this service for you.
There are four general steps to restoring the basic structure and function of your duct system:
Assess your air ducts for rips, tears, cracks and leaks and repair them.
Replace any ducts that are damaged, collapsed or sagging beyond restoration.
Seal all connection points against leakage.
Insulate the exterior of each duct.
In some cases, an inspection may reveal that most or all of your ducts are in poor condition. While the average duct system will last for one to two decades before needing a full replacement, some duct systems will last longer than this.
It all depends on HVAC usage patterns, prior maintenance history, duct material (some are more durable than others), quality of initial installation and similar factors.
As well, if your HVAC technician discovers a “ductopus” – an industry term for ductwork that is so poorly routed it looks more like a many-legged marine animal than an air conduit system – it may be time for a replacement.
Once your ductwork has been repaired and restored or replaced, it is time to move on to step two: duct cleaning.
Step 2: Duct Cleaning: Clean and Sanitize
The reason you want to do your duct sealing, repair and/or replacement first is because of how a professional air duct cleaning is done.
There is only one way to make sure that all the trapped dust, debris, pet dander, insect remains, rodent waste, volatile organic compounds, particulate toxins and other matter is securely and fully removed from your ducts.
They must be completely sealed from the outside first!
Once they are sealed, our professional air duct cleaning technicians can attach the industrial-grade negative pressure vacuum to securely suck out all trapped matter and scour the interior walls of your ducts so none remains.
Then we can send in our sanitizing agent to remove any remaining traces of mildew or mould, bacteria or fungi, all the while ensuring not one spec makes it into your inside air itself.
A professional indoor air duct cleaning done right will give you your brand-new duct system back – but only if your ducts are sealed before it is done.
Otherwise, doing an air duct cleaning on leaking ducts can send as much as 30 percent of trapped toxins into your inside air in the very same way that leaking ducts send heated or cooled air out behind your ceilings and walls.
Get in Touch
Are you concerned about indoor air quality this winter as cold and flu season rolls in once again? When was the last time you had your ductwork assessed for repairs and cleaning? We can help on both counts – just give us a call!
Contact us online or give us a call at 905-544-2470.