Your HVAC air ducts are a critical part of the cooling system in your Jacksonville, FL home. All the conditioned air produced by your central AC is routed and distributed throughout your home via the ductwork. Unfortunately, according to the University of Florida, ductwork could be responsible for the loss of up to 40% of an air conditioner’s cooling energy. In other words, nearly half of the cooled air that you’re paying for isn’t making it into your living space. Worse, these losses can occur even when HVAC air ducts are still new and completely intact. The good news is that you can minimize this energy loss by simply having your air ducts sealed. Read on to learn why many Florida homeowners are investing in duct sealing services.

What Is HVAC Air Duct Sealing?

Duct sealing seals and insulates metal ducting to eliminate tiny gaps and other openings at duct connections. It prevents conditioned air from seeping out but also blocks unfiltered indoor air from entering. Certain duct sealants can even limit the absorption of heat as cold air moves through these channels. For instance, if you have warm, unsealed ductwork in a stuffy basement or attic, the cold air that moves through it will grow warmer before it reaches your air vents.

Why Duct Sealing Is Important

When you first turn on your air conditioner, your air ducts are at room temperature or warmer. In certain areas of the building, these metal structures may even be downright hot. As the first blast of cold, conditioned air enters, your ducting will immediately contract, occasionally creating loud, banging noises, which you might hear at the start of a cooling cycle. During the cooler, evening hours when your AC cycles down or runs fewer cooling cycles, your air ducts will warm up and expand. Constant expansion and contraction-related movements can create tiny gaps and cracks in areas where two sections of ducting meet, and these gaps lead to leaks.

The Benefits of Duct Sealing

According to Energy Star, duct sealing can make homes safer, more comfortable, and significantly more efficient. As per the United States Department of Energy (DOE), cooling your Jacksonville, FL home could account for up to half of your home energy bill. With duct sealing, you can minimize energy waste by ensuring that more of the cold your AC produces makes its way into your living space.

Better Indoor Air Quality

Your air conditioner cools your home by drawing in warm air from the building interior, passing it over its refrigerant-chilled evaporator coil, extracting heat, and then distributing the cool, conditioned air. All the warm air that enters your cooling system passes through your HVAC air filter. This filter extracts many common allergens like:

  • Dust
  • Pollen
  • Dander
  • Pet fur and human hair
  • Carpet fibers

Unfortunately, when homeowners have leaky, unsealed air ducts, unfiltered air can enter these features through gaps and cracks. This air mixes with conditioned air and gets distributed via air registers or vents. Not only does this make conditioned air feel warmer and decrease the efficacy of each cooling cycle, but it also adds various allergens and contaminants, making your ducts dirty (which we can solve with air duct cleaning!). Moreover, the unfiltered air taken in by leaky air ducts often comes from dirty, dust-ridden areas like crawlspaces, basements, and attics. If any of these areas house fuel-burning appliances such as a gas-fired water heater, your ducts might also distribute small amounts of harmful exhaust gases.

Sealing your air ducts is a great way to boost your indoor air quality (IAQ). By insulating and sealing your air ducts, you can create a healthier, fresher-smelling home. Building residents will have fewer IAQ-related symptoms like sniffling, coughing, and sneezing. You’ll also have less clean-up to do.

Lower Your Carbon Footprint

Although air conditioners run on electricity and don’t directly produce greenhouse gases (GHGs), these emissions are frequently a byproduct of electricity production. This means that even electric HVAC equipment has a carbon footprint. Anything that reduces the electricity required for indoor climate control will make your home more efficient. By sealing your air ducts and limiting duct-related energy waste, you can do something good for the environment.

Extend the Lifespan of Your Air Conditioner

When leaky, unsealed air ducts take dirty, unfiltered air in, air conditioners work harder. Each cooling cycle becomes less effective, and air conditioners must run more cooling cycles to create and maintain the temperature that residents want. With higher concentrations of allergens and contaminants floating throughout homes, ACs are more likely to develop build-ups on their evaporator coils and other sensitive internal components. Together, these things can lead to problems like overheating, icing, short cycling, or shutdown.

Excess stress and additional work shorten the lifespans of air conditioners. Rather than the average AC lifespan of 15 to 20 years, your AC could break down much sooner. It might also have greater-than-normal problems throughout its entire service life. By investing in air duct sealing, you can help your cooling system last longer and minimize your AC repair costs over your HVAC’s lifespan.

Prevent Hot and Cold Spots

Central HVAC systems are designed to create and maintain uniform temperatures throughout buildings. The temperature you set on your thermostat should be the temperature of every room throughout your air conditioner’s service area. Depending on the location of air duct leaks, you may have hot and cold spots throughout your home. With leaky air ducts taking in warm, unfiltered air from dirty, low-lying areas, some of your rooms will feel much warmer than others even as your indoor air quality declines. Sealing your air ducts will promote even and consistent temperatures while giving all building residents the benefits of safe, healthy spaces.

Enjoy Balanced Humidity

In addition to lowering your indoor temperature and filtering indoor air, your air conditioner also extracts excess humidity. Given dry air feels cooler than wet air, humidity regulation is critical for keeping your home comfortable. If your indoor air feels clammy or muggy when your AC is on, leaky ductwork could be the culprit. Just as leaky ducts can take in allergens and contaminants from crawlspaces, basements, and attics, they can also take in excess moisture.

Not only does this affect your home’s comfort, but it also increases the likelihood of problems with mildew and mold. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), homeowners should maintain indoor humidity levels between 30% and 50%. In naturally humid areas like Jacksonville, a more reasonable indoor humidity target is between 40% and 60%. However, the EPA asserts that humidity levels above 60% create the ideal conditions for mold proliferation. Sealing air ducts supports effective humidity control from air conditioners and keeps building residents protected.

We’ve been proudly serving Jacksonville, FL and the surrounding communities since 2010. We offer top-notch heating, air conditioning, and plumbing services. We also provide HVAC air duct sealing, duct cleaning, and advanced indoor air quality solutions. If you’re interested in lowering your carbon footprint, reducing your cooling costs, and optimizing your home comfort, give Buehler Air Conditioning & Plumbing a call.

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