You may not realize it, but ductwork deficiencies in your home's HVAC system may be worsening indoor pollution and eroding your indoor air quality. Inspecting the ducts and taking steps to fix trouble spots can help you correct and prevent common problems and poor indoor air quality.

Contaminant Infiltration

Ductwork that's in poor condition can allow biological contaminants, allergens and other unhealthy particulates to enter the air supply through leaks and gaps. Two frequent sources of contaminant infiltration are panned joist returns and disconnected duct sections in unfinished areas like a crawl space, basement or attic. Leaks in the air handler unit cabinet and filter housing or a deteriorated air filter are other potential sources.

Negative Pressurization

For a duct system to function properly, the intake of air through the return ducts must equal the airflow sent out through the supply ducts. If air escapes through leaks in the supply ducts, it creates an imbalance that causes a negative pressure situation in the home. To compensate for the imbalance, dirty air is often drawn in from unconditioned areas like the attic, garage or basement.

Combustion Device Backdrafting

Negative pressure due to leaky ducts can also stop combustion fumes from the furnace or water heater from exhausting properly through the flue. Instead, these hazardous gases enter the air supply. Backdrafting combustion devices produce a higher level of deadly carbon monoxide that exposes everyone in the household to a serious safety risk when it's sent circulating through the home's duct system.

Ineffective Humidity Control

Damp air that's drawn into ducts running through a crawlspace or basement can diminish the A/C's ability to keep humidity in check. Mold spores, warm temperatures and a rich organic food supply are already present in the ductwork, and excess moisture gives mold the opportunity to flourish and compromise your home's air supply.

Learn more about Bryans United Air Conditioning's solutions to correct ductwork problems and improve indoor air quality, or give us a call at 504-208-2071.

Image via Thinkstock

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