Indoor air quality plays an essential role in the home system. Whether good or poor, indoor air quality impacts energy efficiency, comfort and the healthfulness of the home environment. Because the systems of a home are interconnected, it’s important to identify areas that may contribute to poor indoor air quality. One of the common culprits is leaky ductwork.
The typical duct system is installed outside the insulated envelope of the conditioned spaces. These areas, such as the basement or attic, are often havens for particles, mold spores, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and even vermin waste. Contaminants may be sucked into the ductwork through leaks and disjointed duct seams, and circulated through the living spaces.
Unbalanced Air Pressure
An element of good duct design is balanced airflow. Supply airflow should be equal to return airflow. If duct leakage is more prevalent on the supply side, negative air pressure is created. To compensate for the negative pressure, outside air is pulled into the home through the envelope at any available leak, crack or opening. If return ducts are leaky, a pressure drop across the blower stresses the motor.
Health and Safety Hazards
A serious safety and health hazard that leaky ducts may contribute to is the backdrafting of gas appliances. Negative air pressure near a gas furnace, water heater or clothes dryer can suck poisonous gases into the home. The poisonous gases can then be sucked into duct leaks and circulated to the living spaces.
Indoor humidity is a contributing factor between good and poor indoor air quality. If it’s too humid, you may get an explosion of mold growth and dust mite proliferation. This isn’t good news for your home or health. Leaky return ducts can draw in excess moisture from damp basements and crawl spaces, and overly humid attics, all of which contribute to the humidity problem.
A professional evaluation using high-tech equipment can accurately pinpoint duct problems. If you’re concerned the ductwork in your Calgary home is contributing to poor indoor air quality, contact the experts at Arpi’s Industries Ltd. to schedule a ductwork evaluation.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Calgary, Alberta about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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