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Why Is My Electric Bill So High? The Answer May Be Leaky Air Ducts

If your home's air ducts are leaking, air will escape before it reaches its final destination. Your AC will need to run longer to provide proper air circulation in your house, which means your air conditioning unit won't be cooling enough, and you'll pay more on your next energy bill.

How Do I Know If I Have Leaky Ducts?

If your air ducts are leaking, you may notice a few tell-tale signs — weak airflow from your vents, poor air circulation, your AC not cooling enough (which would cause certain rooms to be warmer than others), or whistling noises from your ductwork. Another red flag may come in the form of an abnormally high electric bill.

How To Check For Leaky Air Ducts

  • Look at your power or utility bill from the past 12 months. During the months when the air conditioning or heating is used, do you notice a huge price increase? Taking into consideration the weather and temperature patterns, your heating and cooling system energy usage should remain consistent. Sudden and drastic changes in energy usage are a sign that your system may be close to failing.

  • Walk around the rooms in your home. Do some rooms feel warmer than others? If that's the case, it might be that your AC is no longer as efficient as it once was or that air is leaking through the ductwork.

  • Check to see if your rooms are getting enough airflow. A technician can measure the speed of air coming from the supply registers using an anemometer, an air balancing hood, or by plotting fan speed (Revolutions Per Minute) against the manufacturer's guidelines. But, you know your home best — homeowners can usually tell if the airflow is abnormally low from supply registers.

  • Go to your AC unit and find its air filter. It is typically located in the return air duct or blower compartment of your unit (where the air blows out from). Once you locate the filter, check to make sure it's not clogged with dirt. A clogged filter can lead to reduced airflow.

  • Listen to your AC system by unplugging it for 15 seconds then plugging it back in. Then, hold down the reset button for three seconds, then release. Once it's restarted, listen to the sound.

    As it runs, a noise may develop. Is it high pitched? This sound indicates that your AC isn't getting enough airflow through the return vents and ductwork. The issue may be a loose fan bolt on the condensing unit.

  • Do you notice dust building up on the surfaces within your home even though you clean frequently? If your ducts are dirty or leaking, you will also notice more dust in the air or on surfaces after your furnace turns on.

If you can't trace your issue back to a leaky air duct, consider other reasons for:

What To Do If You Have Leaky Ducts?

When you’ve determined your air ducts are leaking, you’ll want them sealed up right away. You can call a professional to come seal the deal — or if you’re up for a DIY project, you can use aluminum foil tape, mastic duct sealant, or aeroseal duct sealant to close any leaks in your ductwork.

Think you'll need a helping hand? One of our Remote Assist technicians can virtually diagnose leaky air ducts in your home and guide you through the air duct sealing process.

NOTE: This content is for informational purposes only, and HomeX and its affiliates disclaim all liability related to it. If you decide to perform any tasks based on this information, you assume all risks, including the risk of loss or damage to property or personal injury.

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