We rely on our air conditioner to cool our home during the summer heat. Comfort is important, but are you paying too much money for your summer utility bills? Checking your ductwork is a proven way to lower your summer electric bill and your heating bills in the winter.
In the summer months, we crank our air conditioner. BGE says Maryland energy use doubles in some cases.
“It’s important to remember that even customers who leave their thermostats at a set temperature will experience an increase in use when the temperature is extremely hot because cooling systems must work harder to maintain the set temperature,” said Jeannette M. Mills, vice president and chief customer officer for BGE.
While you’re going to use more energy, wouldn’t you like to lower your summer cooling bill? The proven way to lower your utility costs when you turn on the air conditioner.
Air duct cleaning comes to mind most when most people think of their air ducts. Cleaning is important for the overall comfort of your home as mold, dirt, and debris can build up in your duct system.
However, homeowners should also have their HVAC technician look at the design of their duct system. It may not be top of mind like air duct cleaning is, but it’s a proven way to lower your heating and cooling bills while also making your home healthy.
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates homeowners waste up to 30% of the energy used to heat and cool their home.
Energy is lost as air travels through your home’s air ducts.
A trained HVAC professional can check your home’s ducts for improper design and installation problems. The tech also will look for air leaks from wear and tear.
So how common are duct problems? The North Carolina Alternative Energy Corporation looked at the efficiency of HVAC systems. The non-profit found more than 90-percent of the ducts leaked air.
In the study, 70-percent of the homes had incorrect airflow in some parts of the home. The likely cause was improper installation.
You get air duct leaks for several reasons including new heating and cooling equipment or a room addition. In both cases, an HVAC technician should check the ductwork to make sure it’s compatible with the new HVAC equipment, that it’s sufficient for the addition, and the proper size.
Fixing duct leaks is a proven way to increase the efficiency of your air conditioner, lower your energy bills, and achieve healthy living.
When homeowners report comfort and airflow problems in their home, most HVAC companies and homeowners suspect the HVAC equipment is causing the problems.
After more than 60 years in business, Minnick’s believes there’s more to the story. A comprehensive view of the entire home’s performance is the best way to achieve whole home comfort and efficiency. This includes air sealing, equipment, and ductwork.
Poor ductwork can increase your utility bills because your system will have to work harder to compensate for air leaks or design problems.
Some of the symptoms of poor ductwork include the following:
- Rooms that are too humid, hot, or cold
- Excessive noise when the fans are on
- Fans that constantly run
- A drafty room that makes the room uncomfortable
- The A/C or furnace constantly cycling
- An oppressive home due to inadequate air circulation
- A dusty home
Drafts and uneven temperatures in rooms effect your whole home comfort. When your ducts are not working properly, you pay more for utilities.
Plus, your health is affected. The drafts and temperature extremes affect sleeping.
Poor ductwork and leaking ducts also affect a home’s humidity.
You know there is a problem because the air will feel clammy or cold even though the indoor temperature is in line with your thermostat settings.
You sweat more when exposed to humid air. That’s not only uncomfortable as the homeowner, there’s a potential health problem. More humidity in the air creates an environment for mold to grow.
You can have too much humidity or too little. If there’s not enough moisture in the air, you may notice your skin is dry or flaky, or that you’re suffering a lot of viral infections or sore throats.
If you often feel tired and lethargic, your indoor air quality may be the source of the problem. Poor air circulation and lack of fresh air impact your health. That’s because contaminants will just keep circulating around your house if the air flow is not adequate.
Healthy living is directly connected to a healthy home. Improperly fitted ductwork and air duct leaks can be the source of your health, utility, and energy efficiency problems.
A healthy home means healthy living.
It’s clear healthy living is challenging if there are ductwork problems in your home.
Your wallet is also affected. Your air conditioner may not perform as efficiently as it could, which can drive up your utility bills and decrease the lifespan of your unit. If it has to work harder to do a basic job, there’s also more wear and tear.
It’s important to work with a qualified technician that realizes the impact your ductwork has on Whole-Home comfort.
The ACCA Manual D from the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) is the industry standard for professional ductwork installation and includes all specifications to ensure safety, comfort, and efficiency.
Ask for a copy of the ACCA homeowner duct design checklist. It guides homeowners through the contractor’s work.
The manual outlines the exact specifications for how to design the duct system including the sizes for every location in the house. The technician diagnoses the problem areas with tests and provides solutions to increase your whole home comfort.
If the HVAC technician finds problems with your ductwork, there are several ways to address these issues including air sealing, insulation, or recommending design changes.
Air sealing prevents air from escaping on its way to each room.
You can also insulate your ducts to prevent the loss of warm and cool air. This is helpful if you have ducts in the attic or crawl space, where there typically is a lot of energy loss.
The EPA estimates ductwork problems cause you to waste up to 30% of the energy that your HVAC system creates. When the temperatures rise this summer in suburban Washington D.C., make sure you’re ductwork is performing like it should. Proper ductwork design and installation can lower your summer electric bills.
Have you had your ductwork checked recently?
Rob Minnick is the CEO & President of Minnick’s. His family-owned company specializes in heating, cooling, plumbing, and Whole-Home Comfort. With more than 63-years experience, the company prides itself on having the top HVAC technicians. They follow strict standards and earn top-notch credentials. Customer satisfaction is a top priority. Minnick’s proudly serves Montgomery, Howard, Anne Arundel, Prince George’s, Baltimore, and Baltimore City counties. Ask a Minnick’s technician how they can make your HVAC system smart!