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4 Ways a Bad Duct System Can Affect Indoor Air Quality
Your home’s indoor air quality can be affected by a wide range of factors. An improperly maintained HVAC system and ventilation duct system are usually the primary culprits. Unfortunately for homeowners, poor air quality can cause a wide range of health issues including allergies and asthma.
“If not properly installed, maintained and operated, these components [HVAC components and air ducts] may become contaminated with particles of dust, pollen or other debris. If moisture is present, the potential for microbiological growth (e.g., mold) is increased and spores from such growth may be released into the home’s living space. Some of these contaminants may cause allergic reactions or other symptoms in people if they are exposed to them.” – EPA
4 Ways Leaking or Damaged Duct Systems Affect Indoor Air Quality
Here are four ways leaky ducts can reduce indoor air quality.
1. The leak pulls in and distributes contaminants throughout the house.
Most of the air supplied to your HVAC system comes from your home or outdoors. However, leaks can let in air from other places, such as attics, basements, and crawl spaces. Many times, this air is contaminated with pollutants.
2. The negative pressure causes more air to leak.
Negative pressure occurs when the amount of air being coming out through the ducts after conditioning is less than what went into it. This imbalance causes unfiltered air to leak into the system. For those with health issues, this reduction in indoor air quality can create a problem.
3. Leaks can increase the risk of back drafting.
Gas appliances, such as water heaters and stoves, vent harmful gases to the outside. However, negative pressure can create a backdraft that actually pulls gases such as carbon monoxide back into your home. It’s extremely important for your health to seal your ducts so that this does not occur.
4. It can reduce humidity control.
Humidity creates the ideal environment for mold growth. Most HVAC systems have built-in moisture control, but outside air that finds its way in through leaky ducts may bring moisture and foster the growth of mold in your ductwork. This can lead to allergy and other health issues.
Leaks also reduce the efficiency of the HVAC system.
Reduced efficiency of your HVAC system not only results in health issues but it also increases your utility bills. Excessive leaks can cause the units to run all the time, reducing the system’s lifespan and higher energy consumption. This is another reason that It’s extremely important to keep your ducts clean and properly maintained.