When was the last time your air conditioner was replaced? When was the last time your ductwork was replaced? Most Fort Myers, FL homeowners can answer the first question off the top of their head. However, many have no idea how old their ductwork is. Old and leaky ducts are some of the biggest wastes of energy in aging homes. Because they’re hidden in attics, crawlspaces, and wall cavities, duct replacement is often low on a homeowner’s list of priorities.
Cooling the Outdoors
A leaky duct is like an open window — it lets conditioned air escape outside. Leaky return ducts can actively suck air into your HVAC system from the attic, which is the last thing you want in July around Fort Myers, FL. Even ventilated attics can climb well past 120 degrees in the summer. If that air infiltrates your ductwork, your system will have to cool 120-degree air instead of 75 to 80-degree air.
Hot temperatures are bad enough, but humidity is arguably worse! Florida is one of the most consistently humid states in the country. It’s pretty common for well-insulated, airtight homes around here to hover between 50 and 60 percent relative humidity. That’s the upper end of what’s considered comfortable, but you won’t get much lower without a dehumidifier.
Add outdoor air to the mix and you’ll quickly find your home rising to 70 percent relative humidity. High humidity is uncomfortable, but it also costs more to cool — all of that moisture requires additional energy to chill.
Leaky ducts can bring in air contaminants, which can worsen allergies and other respiratory issues. Tears and holes of a sufficient size also provide an opening for insects, rodents, and other pests to enter your home.
If your ducts are at least 10 years old, consider a full duct replacement to shrink your utility bills. Want to see all the other ways you can save energy? Check out our list of HVAC services, or give us a call at (239) 694-4849.