Your air ducts are the hidden circulatory system of your home and move heated and chilled air to all of the rooms in your property as part of your central HVAC system. However, just like all other systems in your home, age and general stress can cause leaks to develop over time, which can allow for air to leak out of your ductwork. This can cause all sorts of complications for your household, and can negatively affect the performance of your HVAC system, so being able to identify when you have an air duct leak so that you can contact a contractor about sealing the ducts becomes an essential skill.
Drafts and Uneven Temperatures
The first and most obvious sign that there may be an issue with the integrity of your air ducts is if you notice that drafts have developed in your home where there were previously none. Cold spots in the winter (or hot pockets in the summer) that remain in place even after you increase the temperature of your thermostat can represent a serious leak in your ducts that prevents air from getting where it needs to go.
Higher Utility Bills
In a similar train of thought to the above point, an air duct leak will also cause your utility bills to climb upwards even as you experience drafts and other forms of uneven temperatures within your home. This is because a great deal of heated or cooled air is being blown out of your ducts somewhere behind your walls or ceiling, which means your central HVAC system doesn't change the temperature of your home, forcing it to work for longer periods of time in an attempt to match the setting on the thermostat. Having a contractor come in to inspect your system and seal your ducts can be a sound financial decision, as the added cost of an inefficient HVAC system over the course of several months can quickly add up.
Dust and Reduced Air Quality
Finally, another indication that your air ducts may have sprung a leak is if you notice that there is a marked prevalence of dust throughout your home. This is because poor air circulation prevents dust from being carried throughout your home and through the HVAC system's air filter. Instead, dust and other airborne contaminants will be allowed to settle in layers on various surfaces throughout your home, increasing the amount of cleaning and maintenance that you will have to do.