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July 28, 2015

Are Duct System Problems and Poor Indoor Air Quality Related?

Are Duct System Problems and Poor Indoor Air Quality Related?Energy loss from defective residential ducts gets the most attention from experts, but problem ducts also can lead to another serious issue: unhealthy indoor air quality. Following are some ways that defective ducts can result in poor indoor air quality.

Polluted Air Can Find Its Way Into Ducts

Most homes have some duct sections running through unconditioned areas, such as crawl spaces, attached garages, attics and wall cavities. If those ducts have leaks and the pressure within the ducts is negative, they’ll drawn in dirty air. That air then mixes with conditioned air and circulates through the house, becoming the air you breathe. This issue could have a serious negative impact on air quality, for example, if a disconnected duct is located near a dead rodent or a black mold colony.

Poor Air Balance Can Degrade Indoor Air Quality

The supply and return sides of your home’s forced-air cooling and heating system should be balanced. This means just as much air is being delivered into a room as is being drawn out through return registers. If air is leaking from supply ducts before they deliver the air into a room, it will create negative pressure and the system will suck in air from outside. If that air is coming from an attached garage or crawl space, it may be polluted.

Backdrafting May Occur

Backdrafting can occur when combustion appliances exhaust carbon monoxide and other by-product gases near a leaky or open duct section. Negative pressure in that duct can draw those potentially lethal gases back into the house.

Leaky Ducts Can Add Moisture to Indoor Air

This can happen if moist air is drawn into ducts from a damp basement or crawl space. Humid air makes your A/C work harder to make the home comfortable.

For more information on how defective ducts can result in poor indoor air quality, as well as solutions to these issues, please contact Paschal Heat, Air & Geothermal. We provide superior HVAC services to communities in Northwest Arkansas.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Springdale, Arkansas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about ducts and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Lopolo/Shutterstock”