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How Bad Ducts Impact Your Indoor Air Quality

If you’ve lived in Phoenix for very long, you’re no stranger to the dust storms that wreak havoc with air quality in our fair city. Unfortunately, there’s not much anyone can do about the dust and pollutants that are flying around outside, but you can ensure that your indoor air quality is excellent, even on a bad dust day. If your home has chronic problems with stuffy air, bad odors, humidity issues or visible mold growth, your ducts may be at the root of your problem.

No matter how good you are about checking and changing your filters, or how great of a filter you purchase, your indoor air quality will never be great if your ducts are damaged or leaking. An opening to the attic or crawlspace allows your ducts to bring dust, dirt, mold and other unspeakable pollutants into your indoor living space. A problem like this has to be nipped in the bud, and fast.

Common Ductwork Problems

There are two major problems we see with ductwork that influence indoor air quality: either the ductwork is somehow open to the elements or the pressure within the ducts is imbalanced severely enough to result in negative pressure inside the home. Both issues are much more common than people think. If your air quality seems poor, it may be time to take a look at your ducts.

An open duct is any section of ductwork that isn’t properly attached, has rusted out areas, has worked loose from the vent or furnace or simply ends without being attached to anything. Unfortunately, open ducts can exist even in brand new homes, so it’s important to keep a weather eye out for them. Open ducts not only waste a lot of energy by cooling your attic, crawlspace or wall void, they also allow pollutants to infiltrate the system.

Imagine how much dust is in your attic or crawlspace — going right into your home every time the furnace blows. Rodent or insect problems are multiplied when your ductwork is open, especially when those critters decide to crawl inside and make the ductwork their home. Molds, mildews and bacteria will start to grow in the filth that accumulates in open ducts. In short, open ducts are bad news.

If you’ve checked all your ductwork and it’s tightly connected with no leaks, you may find that your ductwork is improperly pressurized. This happens when a home’s configuration changes and ductwork is added or removed, or when rooms or ducts are frequently closed without adequate alternative ventilation to allow the air inside to recirculate into your HVAC system.

Negative pressurization, when your home’s air conditioner is removing more air from the system than it can replace, usually results in outdoor air being pulled in through every crack, door sweep and electrical outlet that’s open to the outside. Of course, outdoor air itself isn’t necessarily the enemy, but when it comes in through the walls, it bypasses the expensive filtration you’ve installed in your furnace, so the pollen, dirt and pollution simply lingers. This situation can also increase indoor humidity, further complicating indoor air problems, and cause backdrafting of gas-powered appliances, releasing carbon monoxide into the indoor air.

There Is A Solution!

Fortunately, you don’t have to burn down the house to clean up all the problems that have accumulated in your ducts. Your friendly neighborhood air conditioning technician can help you locate all the leaks in your ductwork and seal them with a professional grade material to ensure they won’t leak again. That dust and debris that has ended up inside isn’t a problem either — professional duct cleaning can remove most of it in almost no time. Before you know it, you’ll be breathing free again and you can be confident that your children and pets aren’t trapped inside a home full of toxic air.

When your ducts are getting you down, give Precision Air & Heating a call for your HVAC repair and service — for as low as $49.95 per vent, we can get your home’s ductwork up and running like brand new. We’re here 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Give us a call at 602-349-6922