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A Beginner’s Guide to Air Ducts

air ducts 101

Air Ducts 101 | What are Air Ducts?

Whether you own a home or are renting, you’ve heard about the importance of air ducts, but do you know how they work? The system of air ducts, or ductwork, is a crucial part of your HVAC system and is responsible for delivering and removing air from the rooms of your home. Think of your ductwork as the circulatory system of your home, providing pathways for the cooled or heated air to be carried into each room and then back to your heating and cooling system.

How Do They Work?

Once your HVAC unit heats or cools the air, it is pushed through the air ducts and is delivered into each room through air vents. If the vents are closed in certain rooms, the air will continue through the ductwork, increasing the pressure inside of your air ducts. The air that’s blocked from entering the closed-off room will find other places to go, either through open vents in other rooms or leaks and cracks in your ductwork. Closing air vents creates an imbalance of pressure within your ductwork and an inconsistency in temperature throughout your home, which can damage your ducts and cause your energy bill to increase.

Duct System Components

Your home’s ductwork consists of many other components that contribute to the functionality of the ducts. The air handler is the indoor part of your HVAC unit, and uses a blower motor and fan to move the heated or cooled air through the ductwork. Downstream of the air handler, the main supply duct will fork off, allowing the heated or cooled air to be pushed through separate ducts that deliver the air into individual rooms. The “take-off” is the component that allows the air to flow seamlessly from the main supply duct to each subsidiary duct. Throughout the ductwork, turning vanes are installed to minimize the resistance of air flow at changes of direction, helping your HVAC unit to run more efficiently. The main distribution and return collection unit, or “plenum,” carries the air from each room to the central handler where it is heated or cooled, and then back into the ducts where the conditioned air is distributed into the rooms.

The Importance of Air Ducts

Your home’s ductwork not only contributes to maintaining the temperature in your home, but is largely responsible for the air quality inside of your home, as well. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), indoor air can be up to five times more polluted than outdoor air because of dust, dirt, mold and other debris that can accumulate within your home’s ducts. For families that suffer from asthma or allergies, this can be especially troubling. Having your ducts professionally cleaned can help ensure the air that you are breathing inside of your home is healthy and free of harmful contaminants. Duct cleaning can also help your HVAC unit run more efficiently, saving you money on your energy bills. It is recommended that you have your air ducts cleaned every three to five years. Here are some signs that it may be time to have your duct system cleaned:

  • Consistent nasal congestion or an increase in allergy or asthma symptoms
  • Excessive dust and cleaning more than normal
  • Dirty supply and return vent covers
  • Variance of temperature or air flow throughout your home
  • A musty or stale scent coming from the vents
  • Visible dust being dispersed into rooms when your HVAC unit is on

Need Your Air Ducts Cleaned? Call the Experts

If you need to improve the air quality and energy efficiency of your HVAC system, Stanley Steemer of South Florida can help. Our professionals are certified with the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA), so you can be sure you’re getting service from the most knowledgeable and efficient technicians. Air duct cleaning with Stanley Steemer of South Florida is fast and cost-effective, saving you money now on energy bills and long-term from having to replace your entire HVAC unit. Visit our website to get a quote or contact us today by calling (888) 982-3553.


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