Tag Archives: ductwork

The Symptoms of Leaky Ductwork

Leaky ductwork
A sealed-up system works better and saves you money.

Leaks in your ductwork cost money, stress your air conditioner and can even lead to allergy flares. The network of air passageways that runs through your home isn’t exactly an aesthetic feature, either. It’s hidden inside walls, crawlspaces, and attics. So unlike a plumbing leak that leaves a trail of water, a duct leak might go unnoticed for years.

But there are clues if you know where to look, and there’s a solution that’s simpler than you might think. If you live with one or more of these problems, it’s probably time for an inspection.

#1: You’re Paying Higher Energy Bills

Temperatures are brutal this summer, both in Massachusetts and nationwide. But it’s always difficult to know if it’s the weather or a problem with your HVAC system that’s responsible for higher energy bills. Either one (or both) might be to blame.

Leaks in the ductwork allow part of your conditioned air to escape into places you’d never intentionally cool, such as the attic and between walls. The U.S. Department of Energy says that in many homes, the loss is about 30 percent. Leaks can also allow heat from those spaces to infiltrate the ducts and warm up the air that your AC system worked so hard to cool. Warm air naturally transfers to cooler spots when there’s nothing in place to stop it.

#2: You’ve Got Hot and Cold Spots

Most homes have spots that are harder to cool than others. Rooms on upper floors and those with large windows or inadequate insulation can all take on excess heat. And you might also have spots that are too cold. But when those problems can’t be traced to an obvious culprit, leaky ducts might be behind it.

With leaks, some of your cool air never makes it to its destination. That creates hot spots. Then if you lower the thermostat to compensate, other parts of your home might be too cold. If hot spots happen near your registers, you’ve probably got a leak.

#3: Your Air Filter Gets Dirty Faster

Most homeowners change the HVAC air filter every 1-3 months. It depends on factors such as whether or not you have pets and whether it’s pollen season. More particles in the air clog up the filter faster. However, leaks in the ductwork can dirty the filter more quickly.

Ducts run through unfinished parts of your home, and those areas are highly dust-prone. All that it takes is a small leak to allow dust inside, where it’s then sent out through the registers. From there, the system’s air intake draws in the particles and the filter traps them. If your home looks a bit dustier and your filter needs frequent changing, a duct leak might be behind it.

Leaky ductwork
If you have to do this, there’s a problem.

#4: The Airflow is Noticeably Lower

Air should flow out through every register in your home at about the same rate. You might notice some differences, as registers closer to the system often have a bit more airflow than those at the end of the run. But it shouldn’t be dramatic.

Comparably low airflow through one or more registers is one of the simplest ways to suss out leaky ducts. Unfortunately, some homeowners live with the problem for years, believing that it’s a normal hazard of a forced-air system. That’s usually not the case.

Duct leaks are like little thieves that abscond with your family’s money and comfort. And for years, sealing up those leaks was a challenging, invasive and costly job. But there’s a newer technology called Aeroseal that’s effective, efficient and affordable.

Instead of fixing leaks from the outside using messy mastic and tape, Aeroseal works from the inside. The best part is that it finds and seals leaks in hard-to-reach areas and those that are so small that the human eye wouldn’t spot them. It’s a simple solution to a complicated problem.

Rodenhiser specializes in duct inspection and sealing. For over 85 years, we’ve provided excellent service to homeowners in Framingham, Concord and throughout the route 495 / 128 area. Call Rodenhiser today, and we’ll seal your leaky system for good.

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Do I Need a New Central Air Conditioning System?

Central air conditioning systems in Massachusetts can last a long time, but eventually will need replaced. Is your A/C working as efficiently as it used to? Is it running at all? If you are having issues with your central air conditioning system, it is a good time to consider whether you should replace it or repair it.

Do You Need to Replace Your Central A/C?

air conditioning system
Central air conditioning system

Here are seven reasons you might want to replace your central A/C:

  • Your current system is 10 years or older. Energy efficiency standards have improved over the past decade. Even a system installed a decade ago will not be as efficient as one purchased today.
  • Your cooling bills keep going up. As an A/C system ages, it can start requiring more energy to do the same job it did when it was first installed. This means your energy bills go up every cooling season.
  • You want to make your home more energy efficient. A brand new, energy efficient central air conditioning system is a greener choice, especially if your old system is highly inefficient.
  • The ductwork in your home was installed when it was built. Ducts installed even 10 years ago are likely to have leaks and gaps. This makes them inefficient and will drive up your costs.
  • You have rooms in your home that never get comfortable. The cool air never seems to reach those rooms. It may be due to a struggling A/C system or major issues in the ductwork.
  • You have high levels of humidity in your home. Air conditioning systems pull humidity out of the air while simultaneously cooling it. If your A/C is not running efficiently, you may be having humidity problems.
  • You may have a malfunctioning thermostat. Older thermostats are not as accurate as they were when they were first installed. The temperature on the thermostat may not be what the temperature of the air is.

If you want to talk with an HVAC expert about central air conditioning systems in Salt Lake City, call us here at Rodenhiser Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning.

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Are There Benefits to Installing a Ductless Air Conditioning System?

Ready to install a new air conditioning system? A ductless air conditioning system is an option to consider. It is a flexible, affordable alternative to ducted central A/C or window units. The benefits of ductless air conditioning show why it is a serious contender for keeping your space cool.

Some Essential Benefits of Ductless A/C

ductless air conditioning
Source: iStock.com/Digiphoto

Let’s look at some benefits you get from going ductless:

  • Easy installation – This happens because there are no ducts to run. Using a two-man crew, a typical central A/C system can take up to a week to install. All the ductwork needs to be run, the air handler installed in the attic or closet, and the outside compressor set. A ductless mini-split usually takes a day or less for complete installation.
  • Small footprint – The external compressor for a ductless mini-split is only a fraction of the size of the compressor for central A/C. The interior unit is even more petite. A regular central air system requires a large air handler installed into the attic or a closet. A ductless system uses air handlers that hang on the wall.
  • Very efficient – A ductless mini-split typically uses far less energy than a typical central air system. Plus, because there are air handlers in individual rooms, it is possible to control temperatures in each room, making the system even more efficient.
  • Remote control operation – Every air handler has its own remote control. This makes it possible to control the exact temperature within a room without running out to the central thermostat all the time. The room’s occupants can control the temperature from the bed, the couch, or even the water closet.
  • Very quiet – Many A/C systems make a ton of noise while keeping your home cool. A ductless system is built for residential quiet. At most, the occupants hear a low hum.

If you need an efficient, affordable way to cool your space, consider the benefits of ductless air conditioning. For more information on a ductless system, contact us here at Rodenhiser Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning.

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Don’t Forget to Spring Clean Your HVAC System

Winter is gone. The warmer winds of spring have arrived. It is the perfect time to get some spring cleaning done. If you are getting your spring to-do list together, don’t forget to spring clean your HVAC system.

Your spring cleaning HVAC list

replacing air filter
Source: iStock.com/simazoran

Use this simple checklist to get your HVAC systems ready:

  • Have a professional do routine maintenance. Your HVAC equipment needs annual maintenance to keep it running efficiently. This helps reduce repair costs and prolongs the life of the system.
  • Check and replace your air filters. This is something you should do every month. However, if your A/C is separate from your heating, you may not have checked the A/C filter since last fall. Now is the time to do it.
  • Make sure the drain hole is not plugged. Under your inside A/C unit, you will find a drain hole where moisture escapes. If that hole gets plugged, it could overflow causing damage to your home.
  • Clear any debris or dirt from around outside units. Dirt, fallen leaves, weeds and trash can clog the airflow going into and out of the unit. It is also important to make sure no plants are growing too close. Airflow is critical for it to run efficiently.
  • Clean vents and registers. It is very easy for dust and other particulates to cling to the fins on vents and registers. You can use a soft cloth or brush to remove any built-up dust. This helps keep air flowing.
  • Have your ductwork cleaned. If you see a shower of dust coming out of your vents when your heating or cooling turns on, you need to have your duct work cleaned. This will help improve indoor air quality year round.

Spring cleaning your HVAC system will only take a short amount of time. However, it is time well spent in making sure it will work as the warmth of summer arrives.

If you need an HVAC professional to check your HVAC system, contact us here at Rodenhiser Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning. We proudly serve our neighbors in the Route 495/128 area of Massachusetts.

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What Steps Should You Take to Weatherproof Your Home?

Is your home protected from the elements? Whether you’re trying to keep the cold out during winter or keep cool air in during summer, use these tips to weatherproof your home for enhanced comfort and efficiency.

Read More What Steps Should You Take to Weatherproof Your Home? >>

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How to Prevent Dirty Ductwork as Best You Can Throughout Your Home

While it may not be immediately obvious, the condition of your ductwork can greatly affect indoor air quality. Your home’s ducts can be contaminated by dust, mold and other particulates. When this happens, it’s possible to have them cleaned, but preventing dirty ductwork in the first place is an even better idea.

Read More How to Prevent Dirty Ductwork as Best You Can Throughout Your Home >>

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Duct Noises Can Catch You Off Guard, But What Do They Mean?

Are unusual sounds emanating from the duct work hidden behind your home’s air registers? Some duct noises aren’t a cause for concern, while others can point to HVAC system issues that impact comfort, indoor air quality and energy efficiency. Here’s how to tell what some of the most common ductwork noises mean:

Popping

air ductsWhen the blower cycles on and pushes air through the ducts, the increase in pressure against the metal can cause a popping noise. This type of sound is completely normal. It’s often more noticeable when ducting is new or just cleaned, since accumulating dust has a muffling effect.

Whistling

If the ductwork is leaky, escaping air can produce a whistling sound when the blower is running. Having the ducting properly sealed and insulated can stop the noise, and prevent unnecessary energy losses that rob you of up to 30 percent of the equipment’s heating or cooling output.

Banging and Rattling

Loose or disconnected duct sections can bang or rattle when the heating and cooling equipment is operating. Checking all the joints, correcting any poor connections and then sealing the ducts using mastic or metal-backed tape can solve the noise issue and help avert future problems.

Scraping

Metal ducts expand in response to temperature changes. If enough space wasn’t allowed around the ducts during installation, you may hear a scraping noise when the expanding metal rubs against floor joists or other building components.

Whooshing or Roaring

While it’s normal to hear a low roar or whoosh through the ducts when the air handler is running, a sudden increase in noise volume warns you that airflow has become restricted. If replacing the system’s air filter doesn’t help, contact an HVAC professional to identify the cause before airflow loss issues lead to equipment damage.

Scuttling

If you’re hearing scuttling sounds, rodents may have taken up residence in the ducts. Contact an exterminator to get rid of the infestation, then schedule duct cleaning to remove any contaminants.

For expert advice about the cause of duct noises in your home in the Route 495/128 area of Massachusetts, contact Rodenhiser Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning.

Image via Shutterstock.com

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Balanced Airflow Is the Key for Comfort

balanced airflowCentral HVAC units are specially constructed to provide an entire building with heated or cooled air. Why, then, do so many buildings end up with uncomfortable hot or cold spots? In many cases, it boils down to unbalanced airflow in the building. Read More Balanced Airflow Is the Key for Comfort >>

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How to Know When to Replace Ductwork or Just Have It Cleaned

clean or replace ductworkHave you taken a look at your home’s ductwork lately? If you’re having problems with this easily neglected aspect of the HVAC system, chances are it may be time for a cleaning or, in some severe cases, it may need to be replaced. Knowing when it’s time to clean or replace ductwork is crucial for maintaining healthy indoor air and excellent HVAC comfort. Read More How to Know When to Replace Ductwork or Just Have It Cleaned >>

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Duct Sealing Benefits HVAC System Efficiency, Even in the Heat of Summer

duct sealing benefitsAlthough seasonal maintenance on your air conditioning or other cooling systems is important, some guidelines remain the same whether it’s chilly winter, humid summer, or mild spring and autumn. In particular, maintaining your home’s ductwork is essential to keeping your home comfortable. At the same time, duct sealing will also raise energy efficiency and lower utility bills. Read More Duct Sealing Benefits HVAC System Efficiency, Even in the Heat of Summer >>

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