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Your Building’s Ductwork – Priority or After-thought?

Did you know that several times a month we respond to a reported roof leak only to find it’s HVAC-related?

Because the HVAC system is responsible for carrying air throughout your commercial property, it plays an essential role in warming spaces in cooler weather and cooling areas when temperatures rise. This means a misalignment can easily cause moisture or condensation that is mistaken as a roof leak.

Here are a few items that could be a sign of an underperforming HVAC system.

  • High Utility Bills.  When conditioned air escapes before reaching the areas calling for it, the HVAC system will continue to run hard until it reaches the temperature the space is demanding. This extra workload requires more energy, resulting in higher bills.
  • Increasing Dust.  Leaking ductwork is more likely to pull in built-up dust from attics, basements, or less-used building spaces, and distribute it throughout the office. Not only does this decrease the air quality, but it can also be tough for those with asthma, allergies, and other respiratory issues. 
  • Hot Spots and Cold Spaces.  Uneven cooling and heating are often the results of leaking air collecting in one area, leaving other spaces without conditioned air. It can also be caused by errors in ductwork design, with a lack of vents extending to affected areas. Whatever the reason, the result is an uncomfortable office environment and a strain on the HVAC, decreasing the lifespan of the unit.

So, there are the problems. Now let’s understand the solutions. Here are our top five:

  • Hire a reputable commercial HVAC Specialist. This professional has the skills to properly examine the ductwork for tears and loose fittings, which can be marked and then repaired once all problem areas are identified. 
  • Turn AC on High.  This makes it easier to locate less obvious leaks, as the force of air will amplify problem areas. Many technicians carry devices that enable them to mark trouble locations for repair. 
  • Check Duct Joints.  Joints are a common area for leaks to occur as fittings can become loose at connection points. Trained professionals will manually palpate ductwork joints to feel for airflow. If air is detected, the connection can be secured.
  • Look for Duct Tape.  This can be a sign of a DIY Band-Aid from a prior building owner. While the effort may provide an inexpensive, temporary fix, it doesn’t last, and the problem can become worse over time. The tape should be removed and sealed with a professional product designed for the job. 
  • Are Ducts in Uninsulated Areas?  If so, the air in the pipes will not remain heated or cooled, causing the system to work harder, increasing energy costs. These spaces should be insulated.

Roof or HVAC?

Now, don’t be afraid to call a roofer! We are always here to help, however, not all issues with water falling from overhead can be fixed by Castro’s Master Technicians!

Knowing more about your building allows you to make better buying decisions and have less reactive costs.

Being proactive pays!

Written by Sam

May 3, 2022

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