8 Signs You Need Air Duct Sealing

Air duct sealing is a crucial but often-overlooked part of maintaining a healthy home. Every piece of your HVAC system needs to be working at its best for you to rest assured knowing that your home is optimally safe, with high indoor air quality.

There are a few reasons why you might have to think outside of the box when it comes to checking whether your air ducts need duct sealing.

First of all, the ducts themselves can be hard to see. They are often located in hard-to-access corners of the home, like behind walls, in the attic, and between floors. It’s easy to fall into the “out of sight, out of mind” trap when it comes to your air duct seal.

Once you locate your air ducts and their potential problem areas, it’s not smooth sailing yet. The leaks in the ducts themselves can be impossible to see, as they are often tiny tears in the caulk, or between the caulk and the duct.

Filterbuy LOCAL is dedicated to helping homeowners keep their home’s systems working at a high level. Read on for the most common signs that you need an air duct seal.

1. High Utility Bills in Summer and Winter

One of the most obvious signs that something may have gone awry in your air duct system is unusually high utility bills when your heating and cooling systems are working their hardest– in the winter and the summer.

Leaky air ducts could contribute to higher utility bills for a variety of reasons. It could be that conditioned air is escaping from leaks in the ducts into “dead space” in the house. The system needs to work hard to bring the air into the main part of the house at the correct temperature.

Another way that leaky air ducts contribute to higher utilities is by letting the outdoors into your home. Hot air in the summer and frigid air in the winter could be moving into your home through leaks in your air ducts. You can imagine your home being uncomfortable when you have your windows open all the time - that's what it's like when you don't seal your air ducts well.

2. Rooms Are Difficult to Heat and Cool

Have you ever noticed that one or more rooms in your house stay cold when you want it to be warm, or vice versa? If so, then you have to consider the possibility of leaky air ducts.

Your central heating and cooling system should be distributing clean, comfortable air throughout your home, as long as it’s firing on all cylinders.

A family of four suffering from allergies.

3. You Have Stuffy Rooms That Never Feel Comfortable

Another sign that you may need an air duct sealing service is if you have stuffy rooms that are never comfortable, no matter what you try to do. It can be so frustrating when you feel like you’ve tried everything to make a room less stuffy– airing it out with outdoor air, fans, or trying to mask the discomfort with diffusers, candles, or plug-ins.

But when you’re in a battle against stuffiness, you need to start at the cause, instead of fighting against the symptoms. Trying to cover up or mask a stuffy room will only let the problem fester and worsen over time.

If there are leaks in the air duct seal, they could be allowing unconditioned air into the main part of your home, or they could cause airflow stoppages that mean that parts of your home are not getting the fresh circulation of air that they should.

When your indoor forced air system is working properly, stuffy, uncomfortable rooms should never be a problem. Air should flow evenly and equally throughout the home. A stuffy room is a surefire sign that you should be checking your air ducts for leaks and hiring knowledgeable air duct sealers to make sure your system is working correctly.

4. You Find Tangled or Kinked Flexible Ducts in Your System

When your HVAC system is working properly, the air flows through at the correct, steady pressure. If there are kinks or tangles in the ductwork, it could be because there are leaks in the air ducts sealing that are contributing to dysfunction in the system.

Imagine trying to breathe through a hose that has a bunch of holes in it. Eventually, the air will go through the path of least resistance, which may turn out to be one of the holes, instead of the proper opening. Once the air starts leaking out improperly, it changes the air pressure. In the case of a vacuum, the ductwork will be pulled and tangled. On the other hand, if there is too much pressure on one part of the system, it could create leaks, or exacerbate the ones that are already there.

Either way, your system is under great strain if the air isn’t moving through it properly, and it will show up in tangled and kinked air ducts.

5. Excess Humidity

If you have signs of excess humidity in your home, then it may be time to check to ensure that your air ducts have proper sealing.

Leaky air ducts can contribute to excess humidity in your home in several ways. Water vapor from major appliances that are supposed to be filtered and sent outside can leak into the main part of your home if there are holes in your ducts. Humid air from the outside could also sneak in through leaks in your air ducts.

Humidity isn’t just uncomfortable - it can lead to major damage in your home. Humidity can encourage bacterial growth, provide an environment for pests, and damage your precious possessions, from electronics to antiques.

If you’ve checked for other sources of indoor humidity and can’t find them, then it’s probably time to check that your ducts have proper sealing.

A woman with her eyes closed, attempting to breathe in fresh air.

6. Musty or Strange Smells

A musty smell in the home goes hand in hand with indoor air quality. If your home smells musty, it’s not only annoying but an indication of a problem with your indoor air system. When an HVAC system is working properly, each room in the home should have a fresh, clean smell.

If you’re smelling your dinner in a completely different room than the kitchen, it might be because polluted air from the kitchen is leaking out through ducts in the rest of the home. If any part of your home smells musty, it may mean that your system is delivering dust and pollutant-laden air into your home.

Just like with stuffiness, a musty feeling in your rooms can come from outdoor air or appliance byproducts that are not filtered and eliminated. Another cause of musty or strange smells in the home is poor air circulation.

Musty smells or inappropriate smells point to poor indoor air quality, possibly stemming from leaks in your air ducts.

7. Poor Indoor Air Quality

If you have less than perfect air quality in your home, it may be due to leaky air ducts.

Signs of poor air quality include bad smells, sudden changes in temperature, and significant differences between the air in different rooms.

Just like with stuffy rooms, indoor air pollution has two main routes into your home. The first is from the outdoor air. Studies show that 25% of outdoor air pollution finds its way indoors, including dangers such as smoke, pollen, and spores.

The other major way indoor air pollution occurs in the home is if your indoor filtering system isn’t working properly. Water vapor and chemical byproducts from major appliances such as dryers can leak into the home if there are holes in the air ducts.

Low indoor air quality is a huge problem and has to be taken very seriously. The consequences of living in a home with indoor air pollution can be dire. Some health risks include irritations in the eyes, nose, and throat, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, headache, sinus congestion, shortness of breath, and coughing and sneezing.

It was even found that in 2012, nearly 8% of worldwide mortalities were due to indoor air pollution. It’s a disturbing fact, but one that makes sense when you consider that you spend 90% of your time indoors. If your indoors is filled with invisible but dangerous pollutants, your health could be at risk.

It’s never a good idea to be cavalier about your health. That’s why Filterbuy LOCAL is serious about ensuring each home service is healthy and safe.

8. The Door Test

Another way to see if your indoor air system is working is a simple check recommended by the US Department of Energy.

  • First, make sure that your exterior doors and windows are completely closed
  • Second, close all of your interior doors
  • Third, make sure that your central air handler is turned on with its usual settings
  • Fourth, open your interior doors (just a sliver)

Now, check the doors in your home. Have any of them moved further than you opened them “on their own?”

If any of them have moved, the rooms that the doors serve have air circulation issues. Air duct leaks can be major causing factors in poor indoor air circulation.

When all of your air ducts are sealed and working, the system should maintain a steady pressure, which will ensure good, even air circulation in the home.

A mother sitting and babysitting her son in the living room.

Is It Time for Air Duct Sealing in Your Home?

If you’ve noticed that your home is struggling with any of the above issues, then it may be time to hire air duct sealers to seal your system.

Tiny tears in caulk seals or corners where the caulk has dried away to expose a hole may seem like tiny issues, but even a small hole in a dam will cause a flood. To maintain good indoor air quality, you need to ensure that every component of your system is working as it should.

Filterbuy LOCAL provides detail-oriented, experienced, and knowledgeable service to our customers. Whether you’re looking for advice on your system, air duct cleaning, or dryer vent cleaning, Filterbuy LOCAL has you covered.

Your indoor air quality is so important– why not leave it to the duct sealing service experts?