November 23, 2016
Winter in Edmonton means keeping the house closed up and the central heating on for several months. The constant use of the furnace or boiler in your closed home can be detrimental to your indoor air quality (IAQ). Unlike the summer, when cooler morning temperatures allow for some open window ventilation, the Edmonton winter is too cold for outdoor air. To help insure your home is free from allergens and airborne toxins for the next few months, it is important to inspect your air ducts. Keeping them clean and free from leaks not only contributes to a healthier IAQ, but also generates better energy efficiency. An annual Inspection of your ducts will help catch problems before they become large issues, ultimately saving you money in repair work and keeping service inspections to a minimum.
Main Unit Ducts:
Our maintenance begins with the main HVAC unit in the home, usually located in the basement or storage space. It contains large ducts that are connected to the branch ducts running throughout your house. These large ducts perform two separate functions; one side of the system forces air through the interior branch ducts while the other side pulls air in. This ensures that the air in your home is circulating efficiently. Check for leaks by turning on the unit and feeling around the exposed ducts for escaping air. The majority of leaks happen around the seams and angled areas. Check the ducts for leaks by holding a couple of sheets of toilet paper close to the places where air might be escaping. If the tissue blows away from, or sticks to, the area – you have a leak.
A minor duct leak can be easily repaired, especially if caught while the opening is still relatively small. When you find a leak, make sure that area around it is free from dust and grime. After it has been cleaned and is dry, use the foil tape to cover the opening. Aluminum foil repair tape works best on flat surfaces or on duct seams. There are some instances (such as a leak on an angled duct) where caulk might be a better solution.
Our next focus is on the exposed branch ducts which can usually be found in the attic, crawlspace or basement. These ducts are covered with insulation and should be inspected for dampness, mold and torn or unprotected areas. Wet or moldy insulation would suggest blockage within your duct system. If you are comfortable disassembling the ducts, find the nearest connection point to the damp area and clean it out. If you can’t clean the area yourself, schedule an HAVC professional to check out the blockage and have the entire system serviced.
Heat Registers/Vent Grilles:
Heat registers and vent grilles are spread throughout your home. Registers generally have louvres (adjustable slats) attached help control the flow of air, while grilles have fixed covers. Registers are used to distribute the warm or cool conditioned air and are directly on the floor or the upper half of a wall. To check the registers, unscrew and remove the vents so you can investigate the duct interior with a flashlight. Check for high accumulations of dust, debris and mold. The grilles are used to help circulate the air and have fixed covers, but you should take a flashlight and check their duct interiors as well. If you spot anything out of the ordinary in either area, you should have your ducts inspected by a professional.
Keeping your ductwork running efficiently is a good way to ensure your IAQ is healthy all winter long. After you have run through our checklist and feel that professional repair or cleaning is in order, give us a call. Always Plumbing & Heating offers complete ductwork services in addition to several IAQ solutions for Edmonton homes with indoor air concerns. Call us today at 740-489-8118 to schedule an appointment with an HVAC professional.