Despite the importance of the duct system, I never paid any attention to it.
The ducts are a branching network of pipes that are nearly entirely concealed inside the walls and ceilings.
Because the ducts are not visible, it’s easy to ignore them. However, the heated and cooled air from the furnace and central cooling system travels through the ductwork multiple times per day. If there are small holes or cracks, the heated/cooled air is allowed to escape. When the maximum amount of conditioned air fails to reach the intended destination, the furnace and air conditioner then need to run for much longer cycles to achieve comfort. On especially hot or cold days, the system might fail to maintain the thermostat setting. The longer running times add up to much higher monthly energy bills and a negative impact on the environment. Plus, there’s extra wear and tear on the components of the heating and cooling system, increasing the likelihood of malfunction. These same imperfections in the ductwork allow outside air to be introduced into the home. Dust, pollen, fumes, mold spores and all sorts of air contaminants then get spread to every room and breathed in by my family. My husband and kids started complaining of headaches, sore throats and difficulty sleeping. I realized we were all sneezing and coughing more often. When I called an HVAC contractor for repair, I assumed there was a problem with the furnace. After a complete inspection, he realized that the duct system was to blame. Although the duct sealing process cost several hundred dollars, it was worth it.