While I am quite conscientious about taking care of the furnace and air conditioner, it never occurred to me to worry about the ductwork.
I make a regular habit of replacing air filters every month.
I call to schedule professional upkeep for the air conditioner in the spring and again in the fall for the furnace. I am a bit aggravated that the HVAC professional never mentioned the need to inspect and service the duct system. The network of pipes responsible for distributing heated and cooled air to every room in the house is concealed behind walls and ceilings. It is essential to both the furnace and air conditioner. If there are tiny holes or leaks at the seams, the conditioned air is allowed to escape. I pay for heated and cooled air that just disappears. Because the air doesn’t reach the specific rooms, it makes it much more difficult for the furnace and air conditioner to achieve the desired temperature level. The equipment then is forced to run longer, work harder and use more energy. The rooms feel chilly or overheated and there’s a greater risk of malfunction. There’s also the higher probability of air contamination. Those same leaks welcome in dirty, outside air. Every time the furnace or air conditioner starts up, it can spread dust, dander, bacteria, mold spores, fumes and all sorts of allergens into the breathing air. When I had the ductwork tested, I learned that 25% of my conditioned air was escaping by way of imperfections. The technician also found a significant buildup of debris within the ducts that was restricting airflow.