Signs Your HVAC Air Ducts Are Leaking

image of hvac air ducts

Home heating and cooling are made possible thanks to a complex system consisting of outdoor and indoor units. It also has a network of ducts and vents that circulates the warm or cold air throughout your house. When something goes wrong with your heating or cooling, it comes as no surprise that we suspect a faulty system. However, the problem could be because of your HVAC ducts. It can be difficult to spot leaky ducts because they are typically hidden from sight. However, there are signs of leaky air ducts you can look out for.

Explore Our HVAC Services Call To Schedule A Free, In-Home Estimate

Signs Your HVAC Ductwork Is Leaking

Read on to find out the most common signs that your HVAC ductwork is leaking.

1. Higher Utility Bills

image of woman looking at high heating and cooling bill

HVAC ductwork leakages waste your system’s efforts. The conditioned air goes into unwanted spaces instead of going to occupied rooms. This makes it harder for your system to reach and maintain the desired temperatures. It will end up consuming more energy this way, and you will see an increase in your monthly utility bills despite steady system usage.

Call Today: (800) 888-2888

2. Noticeable Dustiness In The Home

Air is moved to unwanted places through leaks. Along with it, they move dust and dirt from hidden areas. These dust and other particles are then pushed into the open and distributed throughout your house. If you notice that rooms in your home are dustier even though there are no changes in your daily household activities, leaks could be the culprit. This can cause problems with your family’s health and well-being. Dust, dirt, and other contaminants can cause allergy and respiratory problems.

3. Uneven Heating And Cooling

unhappy homeowner who feels chiily due to leaky hvac ductwork

You might notice a difference in temperatures between rooms around your home. Central HVAC systems should provide you with even and consistent heating or cooling. However, leaks can cause a problem. For instance, leaky ductwork can cause your air conditioner to provide cold air in rooms near the source. However, farther rooms might feel warmer as they do not receive much cooling. Uneven temperatures are one of the usual signs that’s hard to miss. You might try adjusting the thermostat to remedy this, but it will not work unless the leaks are repaired.

Explore Our Heating & Cooling Services Call To Schedule A Free Estimate

4. Other Negative Effects On Indoor Air Quality

Leaky ducts can also distribute toxic fumes that can cause adverse effects on our health. Air from the basement or outside can be pulled in via the ductwork leaks. You might be storing chemicals like thinners and pesticides in these places. The fumes could get mixed with the conditioned air, and you’ll end up breathing them unknowingly. If you smell strong odors around the house, investigate it right away as this could be the cause.

5. HVAC System Requires Frequent Repairs

air conditioner repair

Older HVAC systems tend to break down more often due to aging. However, it can be unusual if it’s a relatively new system that’s only a few years old. Newer HVAC systems should last for more than ten years when maintained regularly and properly. Leaky ductwork can lead to your system working harder than it should. This induces faster wear and tear, which contributes to premature equipment failure. Prevent this from happening through early intervention.

Call To Schedule A Free Consultation

How To Find Leaks In Your HVAC Ducts

Some of the things you can do to find the leaks in your HVAC ducts include:

1. Find Visible Tears In the Ductwork

Check the ducts for holes and cracks carefully. Mark the leaks with a grease pencil, so it is easy to locate them when you are ready to fix them. The leaks might have slowly worsened as years passed, so you might be shocked to see the problem’s extent.

2. Turn The HVAC System On Full Blast


If you find it difficult to find the leaks, turn your HVAC system on full blast. This will force the conditioned air throughout your home so you can feel the temperature differences between rooms. This makes it easier to tell where there are duct tears so you can confidently find most, if not all, of them.

3. Inspect The Duct Joints

The joints in your ducts are naturally weak points. This means that leaks easily develop in these parts, especially if they are improperly sealed. To check if there are leakages in the joints, run your hand over them to see if cold air is coming out of these parts.

4. Remove Duct Tape

image of duct tape that was use to cover hvac ductwork leak

If you recently moved houses, check for any duct tapes across the ductwork. The previous owner might have used tape as a temporary remedy to any leaks. It is recommended to remove these tapes and have a professional repair the ducts properly using permanent sealing.

5. Light Incense

Leaks can become visible using incense or other colorful smoke. You will notice the smoke swirl differently around areas in your ducts that have leaks. This will allow you to spot the leaks immediately. This is recommended for small leaks that are difficult to find using your hands.

Explore Our HVAC Repair Services Call To Schedule An Appointment

6. Seal The Leaks

image of hvac contractor repairing hvac ductwork leak

After completely surveying your ductwork, the leaks are ready to be sealed. Make sure to leave this task in the professional hands of an experienced HVAC contractor. This way, this problem doesn’t happen again. An expert will use permanent seals and find any leaks you might have missed. They will conduct a thorough and careful assessment and repair to ensure the best results.

7. Test With Fog

After sealing all ductwork leakages, you can test the ducts using a fog machine. Rent one to see if all holes and cracks have been sealed. This will work better after the big holes have been sealed. Otherwise, you might overwhelm the basement and attic with smoke. Remember that HVAC contractors are equipped with the required tools and extensive experience to find all leaks accurately. They also know the best solutions to repairing leaky HVAC ducts, so your system works as expected.



Situations vary from home to home. Therefore, some solutions will work better depending on the case. An expert HVAC technician will carefully assess the problem so they can correctly diagnose and repair them. They will find all of the issues throughout your ductwork and seal them properly. This way, you can enjoy even temperatures, high energy efficiency levels, reduced energy bills, fewer repairs, extended system lifespan, and higher indoor air quality.

Call Townsend Energy For Effective Heating Solutions

te logoWhen you need superior HVAC cooling services in Northeastern Massachusetts, Southern New Hampshire, and Maine, make sure to call Townsend Energy. We have professionally certified technicians to conduct excellent heating and cooling services, including repairs, maintenance, installations, and more. All our techs are equipped with the knowledge and experience to ensure accurate and prompt services to any HVAC make and model.

Our company guarantees practical and affordable solutions that will increase air quality, comfort, and system efficiency. Our tune-up services can help prolong your system’s service life while helping you be more cost-effective. If you need to repair or replace your system, we can recommend the best one within your budget. All our work is guaranteed. To schedule a service appointment, give Townsend Energy a call today. We offer free, in-home estimates.

Call Now: (800) 888-2888 Explore Our Library Of Case Studies

Contact us now at (800) 722-4101 to find out more!