Air ducts are a staple part of most HVAC systems, and in the Decatur, Alabama area, they serve the purpose of transferring heat through your home during the cooler months. Even more importantly, they transport the cool air from your AC unit throughout a house or commercial building during the hot and humid summer months.

Obviously, you’ll want this important part of your HVAC system to be in good shape year round, provided that you use a system that utilizes air ducts. Unfortunately, leaks are a common issue in air ducts, and can lead to problems with heating and cooling evenly. Here’s how to check for duct leaks if you suspect an issue.

Check Your Energy Bills. If you’ve noticed your energy bills climbing lately, and you can’t pin down the cause, leaky air ducts could be your prime suspect. As air leaks from your ducts, your system works harder to provide heat or AC to your home, meaning more energy use and higher bills. To be sure air ducts are the issue (higher energy bills can have other causes), proceed to the tactics below.

Uneven Heat or AC Throughout Your Home. An easy to check for sign of an air leak (or blockage) in your ducts is a room or section of your home that never cools off or warms up sufficiently. This sign is very easy to check for, and if it’s in conjunction with high energy bills, especially if the issue is near the thermostat, you have your culprit. Knowing which rooms are suffering will clue you in to where the leak may be in your system.

Go To Your Attic or Basement. If you have ducts running through either area, you should be easily able to check for leaks in these areas. Sometimes, ducts will be exposed, but at other times, you may need to move insulation to access them.

Once you’ve found your ducts, it’s time to check for leaks. First, set your HVAC fan to the ON position, which will cause your fan to blow constantly. Once your system is on, then there a couple of ways to check for leaks.

Using your hand, you can simply feel for leaks. Hold your hand around the joint areas, where the duct pieces come together, as this is the most common place for air leaks. If you can’t reach well, or have trouble using this method, you can also use an incense stick or other source of fog or smoke to see where air is coming out. Be careful to avoid touching any heat sources to your insulation or other flammable materials. This method works well when looking for window leaks, too.

Look For Visual Signs. Don’t forget to check the obvious: are there tears in your ductwork or evidence of past DIY repairs, such as the use of duct tape? In some cases, you may find ductwork pieces hanging off of others, or areas where rodents or debris have invaded.

Need Duct Repair? The good news is that once you’ve found a leak, duct repair is pretty straightforward. At Southeastern Mechanical Services, we’re here year-round to fix your leaky ducts and keep your HVAC system working well for years to come. Contact us today.