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Atlantic Refrigeration and Air Conditioning, Inc. Blog

Paying Too Much for Cooling? Your Ductwork May Be the Culprit!


During the first stretch of warm weather for the season, we recommend you pay close attention to your electrical bills. You can anticipate paying more when the air conditioning system begins to run regularly because the AC’s compressor draws on more electricity than almost any other appliance in the home. However, you can expect the electric bills to be close to what you were paying this time last year (unless there are special circumstances). If you notice that the cost has made a significant increase this year, it’s often a warning you need air conditioning repair in Middletown.

But not all spikes in the cost to run the AC come from the air conditioner itself. There may be other troubles in the HVAC system. One of the most common sources of a rise in the costs to cool a house is trouble with the ducts.

Duct Leakage

The ducts in your house are hidden from sight, and this makes it difficult for you to know what condition they’re in. Ducts age and suffer from strain like other parts of the HVAC system, and this can lead to leaks and gapping. This process will speed up if the ducts were poorly installed when the house was constructed. Other sources for air leaks include vermin infestations and blocked vents that raise the air pressure. 

But how bad could a few air leaks be for the HVAC system? The answer is: pretty bad. Ductwork is supposed to be airtight along its length so the HVAC system can maintain air pressure. Any breaks in the airtight seal will cause air pressure to drop, leading to less cooling reaching the rooms from the AC. The cool air that escapes through the leaks is going to waste, and the air conditioner will have to work harder to make up the difference as it tries to reach the requested temperature in the house. 

Finding Duct Leaks

How can you tell that you have duct leaks if the ducts are mostly disguised from sight? Well, you’ve already noticed one symptom: a rise in cooling costs. There are several other warning signs:

  • Low airflow coming from room vents.
  • A moldy or dusty odor in the air. 
  • Rattling sounds from the ducts when the fan is running. 
  • A rise in indoor humidity. 

If you think you have duct leaks, the next step is to call our professionals for duct testing. We can find out the extent of the air leaks in the ducts and determine the best step to fix the problem.

Duct Sealing

In most cases, fixing leaking air ducts requires professional duct sealing. (No, you can’t use duct tape for this. Duct tape, you might be surprised to hear, doesn’t work on ducts.) Once our experts have located the leaks in the ducts, we can access them and use tools such as mastic sealant or metallic tapes to make the ventilation system airtight once more. We’ll test the ducts again when we’re finished to make sure your HVAC system has its airtight ductwork restored.

Atlantic Refrigeration & Air Conditioning, Inc. serves Delaware and the Maryland Eastern Shore. Call us to schedule duct testing and duct sealing.

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