You can’t blame high summer utility bills on your air conditioner alone. Your air conditioner may be running inefficiently because of this hidden culprit: air duct leaks.

How air duct leaks waste your money

Air ducts are the mostly unseen passageways that distribute air around your home. And, according to ENERGY STAR:

“In a typical house, however, about 20 to 30 percent of the air that moves through the duct system is lost due to leaks, holes, and poorly connected ducts. The result is higher utility bills and difficulty keeping the house comfortable, no matter how the thermostat is set.”

So, 20% to 30% of the air your AC cools isn’t making it to your living areas, forcing the AC to run longer to cool your home. Basically, it’s like driving your car while it leaks out 20% to 30% of the gas—a huge waste of money. But how do you know if you actually have leaky air ducts?

4 signs your air ducts are leaking

Besides high summer and winter utility bills, look for these signs:

  • Some rooms are difficult to cool in summer and heat in winter
  • There are tangled or kinked flexible ducts in your system
  • Your home’s air quality is poor (if your ducts are located in the attic or crawl space, the leaks will suck in bad stuff and distribute it throughout your home)
  • Your AC isn’t dehumidifying your home well (attic air is not only dirty, but extremely humid)

You can also try this test:

  • Set your thermostat’s fan setting to “ON” to turn on the air handler
  • Hold up a tissue or wet finger over a slightly cracked door

If the tissue moves (or your wet finger feels air movement), you may have leaky air ducts. The reasons why are complicated. You can learn the specifics in this article: How Duct Leakage Steals Twice.

How to fix leaky air ducts

Leaky ducts need duct sealing. You’re probably wondering, “Can I do this myself?” Well, repairing ducts is tough because ducts are often concealed in walls, ceiling, attics, and basements. We suggest locating a local HVAC company to:

  • Determine if you have severe duct leakage
  • Find where the leaks are located
  • Seal the leaks

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