When it comes to residential energy loss, no single problem contributes more than duct leaks. Not only do such leaks negatively impact your overall efficiency, but they also cause your system's run times to increase. As a result, your HVAC appliances suffer a much greater degree of wear and tear.

For all of these reasons, it is important to be vigilant about understanding and diagnosing duct leaks. If you would like to increase your knowledge of this vital subject, keep reading. This article will discuss the specific duct leak problem known as unbalanced leakage.

Unbalanced Leakage

Unbalanced duct leakage is by far the most common type of HVAC leak. To understand what the term "unbalanced" refers to, consider that your HVAC system has two sides. These are known, alternately, as the supply side and the return side. The supply side represents that half of your duct system concerned with drawing air from your home into the system. The return side, as you can likely guess, represents the sections of duct responsible for delivering the conditioned air back to your home.

Unbalanced leakage simply refers to an uneven relationship between these two halves. While it is technically possible to have a balanced leak--that is, a situation where equal amounts of air were being lost on both halves of the system--it is very rare in reality. Instead, one side or the other is likely to be at fault.

Leak Effects

The problem of an unbalanced leak may be caused by holes or breaches on either of the duct system. Both scenarios are equally problematic. Return air leaks will act to draw in air from such places as attics and crawlspaces, thus making your system have to work harder to bring the air to the correct temperature. In a supply side leak, a portion of air will escape out of the ducts before it has gotten into your home. This means that the system will have to run longer--and work harder--to achieve a given heating or cooling task.

Detecting Unbalanced Leaks

Unfortunately, it can be very difficult to correctly identify an unbalanced leak--let alone which side of the system is responsible for it. Professional technicians often accomplish this task through the use of manometers. These special tools allow the HVAC technician to measure the pressure of the air inside of your home. The reading is then compared to the outdoor air pressure.

Return leaks tend to result in a higher indoor pressure, since the system cannot suck in enough air to account for that being lost through holes or cracks. A supply leak, alternately, will result in a lower pressure inside of the house. Using this data, the repair person can begin to go about trying to locate--and repair--the source of the leak.

Get in touch with a service like Rechtin Tom Heating Air Conditioning for more details.