A Look at the Factors That Affect Duct Performance

September 25, 2023

Ductwork is an unseen but vital part of your home’s central HVAC system, allowing for the efficient distribution of heated and cooled air throughout your home. Because ducts are hidden beneath floors and behind walls, it can be difficult for homeowners to determine their condition and whether damage or dirt buildup is affecting the overall function of your heating and cooling system. Understanding the factors that affect duct performance will give you the information you need to spot issues and schedule maintenance, repairs, or cleaning with your Columbus HVAC company.


The integrity of your duct system is one of the greatest factors that determine its performance. Ducts that suffer from cracks and leaks allow air to escape from the ducts into the spaces between your walls and floors, rather than continue to your air registers for delivery to the living areas of your home. Studies indicate that leaky ducts can be responsible for up to a 30% loss of heated and cooled air, meaning the energy spent to condition this air has been wasted. Thus, leaky ducts are associated with higher overall HVAC operating costs, as well as reduced home comfort due to inadequate circulation of heated and cooled air.

Dirt and Dust Buildup

Dirt and dust in your indoor air can not only build up inside your HVAC appliances, it can accumulate inside your ducts as well. Ducts affected by a high concentration of dirt, dust, and other airborne particles offer less volume through which conditioned air can be moved, placing strain on your HVAC system’s blower component and reducing the amount of air that reaches your interior living spaces. Constricted ducts can thus affect your home’s heating and cooling efficiency, while also increasing the likelihood of a breakdown and premature wear affecting the fan. Finally, air ducts that have accumulated particulate matter can reduce the air quality throughout your home every time your HVAC system activates, as moving air blown through your ducts can dislodge particles and carry them along, increasing levels of dust and allergens throughout your home.


The layout of your ductwork will also impact its function. Ducts are often installed in the unconditioned spaces of a home, such as attics, garages, and along exterior walls. However, inadequate insulation in these areas can lead to heat exchange through the metal of the ductwork itself that reduces the efficacy of your heating and cooling system’s output and lowers indoor comfort. In turn, poor indoor comfort causes you to change your thermostat settings and increases the cost of heating or cooling your air. Furthermore, ductwork that is overly-complicated or too long can increase the work your blower motor must do, as well as affect the amount of heated or cooled air that reaches its final destination. Thus, ductwork should be configured and installed in areas where insulation will reduce heat exchange with a structure that allows air to move easily from one location to another.

Do you have questions about your ductwork or any other aspect of your home’s heating and cooling system? Your Columbus HVAC expert is on your side with the advice and answers you need to improve home efficiency and comfort. You can reach us for service when you visit our website, where you’ll also find more information you can use to get the most from your furnace and air conditioner on our blog.

Last Updated: September 25, 2023