If you haven't given much thought to it, you might think that the main problem with defective residential ductwork is wasted energy. While this is certainly something to avoid, another issue with leaky or otherwise defective ductwork is poor indoor air quality. This can happen in four different ways.
Dirty Air Can Infiltrate Leaky Ducts
If you have ducts running through unconditioned areas containing dirty air, some of that air can infiltrate the ducts and circulate through your home. This can happen in ductwork running through crawl spaces, wall cavities, an attic or basement. Consider the hit to air quality if a disconnected duct section is drawing in air that has been contaminated by a dead rodent or by pollutants accumulating near the affected area of the ductwork.
Negative Pressure Can Draw in Dirty Air
It's important for the supply and return sides of the air delivery system to be properly balanced. If supply air is being lost via duct leaks or poorly designed routing through wall cavities, that creates negative pressure. The pressure will equalize by sucking in air from outside, as well as areas such as a crawl space, attic and/or basement.
Backdrafting Can Occur
This happens when exhaust from a combustion appliance such as the water heater gets sucked into ducts as a result of negative air pressure. That exhaust can contain deadly carbon monoxide (CO) and other toxic gases.
Leaky Ducts Can Impair Humidity Control
If your ducts are leaking, they can draw in moist air from a damp basement or crawl space. This adds to the workload of your air conditioner, which may already be struggling to dehumidify the home. The addition of moisture will contribute to poor indoor air quality.
For more information on how defective ductwork can contribute to poor indoor air quality in your Chicago area home, please check out Climate Master Mechanical Contractors' air quality solutions, or call us at 888-376-2450.